Jun 09, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I walk quickly, city savvy, righteously scorning the oblivious loiterers congregating in the middle of the sidewalk. When I’m not internally criticizing those I pass, I delight in the city around me. Happily I walk along, noticing building details, unexpected spring flowers, and public sculptures. These last few days, though, I had to slow down. Somehow, unbeknownst to me I got tendonitis behind my knee and walking became painful. I like being on the go. I don’t rest much. I more or less collapse when I become exhausted. But pain stopped me. I slowed down, walked less and enjoyed time off. I saw a movie on HBO, read a bit, cooked very little, and listened to a lot of...
May 04, 2014 by Janet Zinn
Last Sunday evening I was on the crosstown bus coming home from a meeting. I left early to have dinner with the family. I wondered if Emma would be coming home on the same bus. And, alas, three stops later she got on, exhausted from a full day of rehearsal. She nabbed a seat behind me, and I turned to chat.“You wouldn’t believe my day,” she said.“Tell me about it,” I respond.“We had to learn a new routine, and my legs felt like Jello. I could barely move. I cried because I was hurting all over. And, you know what they did? You know what they did?” She repeats. They told me to do it again! Can you believe it.”“That...
I Love Lucy
Apr 22, 2014 by Janet Zinn
Lucy is our Zen Dog, the stressless being in our household. She is delightful, having us laugh and bond in ways we hadn't prior to having her as part of our family. She grounds us in a frenetic city, reminding us of the importance of simple love.
I Did It!
Apr 14, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I'm 54 years old, I have a torn meniscus, pleural effusion, tendonitus, and I completed a half marathon today. I love walking but never thought I could run. Thanks to my friend Lisa, who told me I could run slowly, really a jog, so I tried it out and found that I could jog slowly. I started running at the age of 51. I ran around the block, then a half mile, then a mile. I always felt like I accomplished something doing these runs. Little by little I challenged myself to jog longer, always slowly. I would have people pass me on a regular basis. At first this was difficult. I can be competitive. With three siblings, it was...
I Can't Keep Up
Apr 02, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.--John Burroughs There was a time in my twenties & thirties when I did all the planning with my friends, when I sent birthday cards, and called to catch up. No more. As a working mom, trying spend time with my family, write on a semi regular basis, workout, and keep up with the day to day, I no longer have the mental dexterity to juggle anything else.When Facebook came on the scene, I was able to be in touch with friends from around the...
A Glutton for Punishment
Mar 16, 2014 by Janet Zinn
“Get out.! You just want me to be perfect. You hate me. I know it. You just want a perfect robot child. Well, guess what? I’m not a robot. I fuck up. I’m a fuck up. Happy?”
Happy? No. I don’t think most parents are happy when their child is in emotional pain. Nor is there any joy in being the hapless beneficiary of my daughter’s verbal lashing. There’s a part of me when I hear Emma’s screams, that thinks, yes, I’d love a robot at this moment, one who has not been programmed to raise her voice. But, alas, the reality is I have my imperfect 14-year-old daughter pushing as hard as she can.
As a psychotherapist in my professional life,...
Mar 07, 2014 by Janet Zinn
There’s been so much talk about this arduous winter. The news reports spend at least half their time telling us what storm is coming or the reprieve we may see. This weekend is supposed to give us a break with warmer weather. The up side is, it gives everyone an easy subject to address when grasping for small talk. The down side is that this winter has been brutal on our nerves. Even as we trudge through the snow, or put on the many layers it takes to face the cold, we grit our teeth in anticipation of the discomfort we endure. We are more inclined to order in, and less disposed to go out of our way. We commiserate...
Jan 13, 2014 by Janet Zinn
I’m watching the Golden Globe awards. Usually I love this show, but tonight’s is less inspired. Nonetheless, it does remind me of the years as a child and teenager when I would watch the Academy Awards, the Tonys, The Emmys and the Golden Globes, writing and rewriting my acceptance speech in my mind. I so wanted to win to prove to my family and the kids who taunted me that I had arrived. The only awards I remember winning were student awards. I was happy to win them, but they lacked the global recognition I so longed for. Now in my 50s, I value my autonomy, but live vicariously when watching award shows. Hopeful for those who inspire me with...
A Jewish Christmas
Dec 26, 2013 by Janet Zinn
In years past I looked forward to Christmas because I knew that I’d sing to strangers in the morning, see a movie in the afternoon, and enjoy a Chinese feast in the evening. I didn’t have the pressure to visit family or put on a fake smile for the gift I would never request. But today I’m relaxing. As a busy New Yorker, quick to fill in an open slot with a museum visit or a show, I eschewed relaxation as an unnecessary commodity. I lived by Warren Zevon’s song title, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” No more. It’s been a great day. Resting was required, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s so nice to change things up. I know...
The Pressure to be Grateful
Dec 02, 2013 by Janet Zinn
Thanksgiving can be a wonderful holiday, filled with delicious food, family or friends we don't often see, and the promise of a joyful holiday season. However, these experiences aren't always shared. We go back to work tomorrow, and many people will be lying when asked, "How was your Thanksgiving.?" "Great." They'll say. But inside they are embarrassed and ashamed because they were unable to find the joy in the holiday. I know because, as a therapist, I hear it regularly during the holiday season. So many people experience stress, unfulfilled expectations, or loneliness. There is social pressure to not complain and to even be actively grateful for all the wonderful things in our lives. This is so difficult when we...
A Culture of Tattletalers
Nov 17, 2013 by Janet Zinn
“Mommeeeee!” My sister, Susan yells from our bedroom. “Janet pulled my hair.” I hated when Susan tattled on me. Technically she was right, I did pull her hair, but she fails to share the details of the said pulling. We were playing beauty parlor, brushing each other’s curls, pretending to style, paint nails and put on lipstick. Anytime we brush hair we pull it. In the1960s we knew of no brushes or combs designed for anything but straight, fine hair. So, putting a brush to Susan’s hair by definition meant I was pulling it. Susan was a pro when it came to telling on me. I hated when she did that, because it meant that I would lose another good...
Nov 01, 2013 by Janet Zinn
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. Maybe it had something to do with being Jewish, and Hanukkah not having the same gravitas as Christmas. As a rule we didn't have candy in our house. Halloween was the exception. That alone made it a very special holiday. Or, maybe it was the actress in me. I loved to get dressed up. I still remember the flammable Cinderella costume I had at 6. The plastic mask itched and the mouth hole was too small. But the turquoise blue with the silver trimming was perfect on top of my Danskin shirt & pants set. I was escorted to each home where I was a given a large candy bar, some pennies, or...
Oct 27, 2013 by Janet Zinn
I was 11 years old. In the back of our school in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, in 1971, I ran the 900-yard dash. On the dirt around the playground I pushed myself as I ran as fast as I could. Again and again my classmates past me, even tough my mouth was dry, my chest was tight, and the left side of my abdomen was in a knot. I had on my red Keds. They were not serving me well. Three classmates were behind me when I reached the finish line. There was little pleasure in that. I knew I was not a runner. I took this knowledge with me for a long time. I liked to walk and I...
Oct 17, 2013 by Janet Zinn
Weight Watchers is known in the diet arena for their Points Plus platform. Inspired by their model, I am introducing my own points program. It is a diet, but not of the food variety. My points program is based on overall attitude rather than foods and exercise. I am naming it “Mood Minders”™, an alliteration to assure successful branding. Mood Minders”™ works like this. We start out with twenty points per day, with an extra 40 points for the week to use at your discretion. You can use a portion of your weekly points daily, or you can save them up and have a full fledged tantrum at the end of the week, if you like. Neutral moods are zero points. ...
No Problem Rant
Oct 01, 2013 by Janet Zinn
Last week I visited a museum. I was excited to see a new exhibit. I went to the membership desk to get my pass, and was partially greeted by a 20-something intern or part-time employee. She was having a laugh with a co-worker and was in no rush to help me. After she finished her exchange with the other intern, she turned to me, looked at my card, and gave me my day pass. I said, "Thank you." Though perhaps I was less gracious than I would have been for a more professional interaction. She said, "No Problem." unfortunately, this is not unusual. When did "You're Welcome" become ubiquitous? When I thank a service provider what I now often get...
Sep 08, 2013 by Janet Zinn
I am writing a blog post because I have a list of Shoulds, and posting on my blog is on the list. It will be a short post, after all, I have a lot of shoulds. I was supposed to get some paperwork done for my practice, but that's been on my list for weeks now. This weekend is the hard deadline, so I'm certain that will get done before I hit the pillow tomorrow night. Some shoulds stay on the list, and I know I should let them go, but I'm not ready to quite yet. Just like I should get rid of clothes that linger in my closet years since I've worn them last. But they each have...
It's All About Me
Aug 18, 2013 by Janet Zinn
I’m zipping down Park Avenue. Now I’m on 54th Street trying to cross during a grid lock. I glare at the driver of the black SVU, as I choose which end of the car is safest to pass. Okay, the front, I think. There’s barely enough room from his bumper to the Volvo in front, but I make it past only to get to the other side where there are fur junior executives side by side blocking the side walk. I’m going at a clipped pace, and I don’t like to be slowed down. I wait for the guy on his lunch hour to pass going the other way, then I aggressively move past the four juniors and go right...
Jul 27, 2013 by Janet Zinn
“Ooh, Ooh,” I moaned with my hand raised high, wishing for Mrs. Mishaw to call on me. “Silence. I do not call on anyone who is making noise,” Mrs. Mishaw said in her snipped, stern tone. She was wearing a straight knit skirt, in brown, of course, a starched blue blouse with a peter pan collar with darker blue piping, and thick stockings with brown, medium-heeled pumps. The heels clicked on the over buffed wooden floors as she went up and down the aisles with her pointer. Always with her pointer. She did not call on me. It was only when I didn’t raise my hand and hadn’t been paying attention that she called my name to shame me in front of...
May 31, 2013 by Janet Zinn
I received a message last week that a client wouldn't make it to her psychotherapy session since she was sick. I felt as if she was lying. She had a lot going on, probably felt overwhelmed but couldn't say that. Being sick seems like a more legitimate excuse. I get a lot of lies in my line of work. You'd think that people want to bear their souls, tell the truths they can't tell others. And, that happens often, but there are always lies hidden amid the truths. I am not offended that they fib. Why should I be? If they lie in their lives they'll lie to me. ...