Pinterest is oddly like the Sims

I have a pinterest now.

It reminds me distinctly of playing the Sims.

On the surface of it, it’s an odd comparison to make; if you’re familiar with both, the differences are far more stark than the similarities. Perhaps it is only that it fills a similiar need in me; I can’t swear it’s the same for everyone. But it is similar. The scrolling through beautiful objects, to find the perfect one for the story you’re telling. The boards discrete as houses, each one whole unto itself, its own mood, its own theme.

Admittedly you can’t start any suspicious house fires in Pinterest, but you also don’t have to clean up pee because your Sims stayed on the phone too long and forgot to go to the bathroom. I think it balances out.


Order muppets, chaos muppets and finding your inner Pepper Potts

If you’re never heard of order muppets and chaos muppets, you can learn about them here. It’s a simple dichotomy, but what it lacks in nuance it makes up for in clarity.

Almost anyone who knows me will tell you that I am, by an metric, an order muppet. But: I’m not. Oh, it’s invisible in my public life for the most part — random moments lacking in dignity and elegance happen to everyone after all. Professionally, I look like the consummate order muppet. With friends, I’m the maker of lists, the one who has to rein in the bossiness to be a good listener, the one quick to problem solve.

Like everyone else, I successfully convinced myself for a long time that I was an order Muppet.

But I am secretly a chaos muppet. My work desk might be exquisitely minimalist; my desk at home? Piled horizontally with anything I might need a moment’s notice for a whim.

To put it another way: I thought I was Pepper Potts. I am actually Tony Stark. (An ideal relationship, I think, needs at least one Pepper Potts. In mine, it is not me — at least, not all the time.)

When I was younger, I was very fond of the game “act as if” — scared doing a presentation in college? Pretend I was a favorite character tabling a matter of galactic importance. I suppose it’s a more tailor-made version of WWJD.

My order muppetry falls by the wayside like the sham that it is the moment I don’t have a problem to solve and the chaos muppet takes over. And when you’re a writer with a vivid internal landscape to contemplate, that means a lot of real-life tasks recede in importance, to the point of vanishing (until they turn up later, on fire).

I’m back at college and in the middle of a couple of diy projects at home, and this weekend I wanted to get a lot done. I did the old “act as if” game, and was surprised how amazingly effective it still is.

But finding my inner Pepper Potts wasn’t just about getting things done, like a mechanical list-following drone. It was surprisingly holistic. I enjoyed the rare good weather. I got some work done. I ate well and spoke to friends and family. It wasn’t half-panicked problem solving, chaos masquerading as order, and strangest of all, I remembered to put the person (me, in this case) above the problem. It was eye-opening, and authentically liberating.

Not that anyone’s asked, but that’s my advice. Next time you’re panicking, ask yourself: WWPPD? The answer is probably: take a breath, do some self-care, and when you’ve calmed down some, trust yourself to figure it out. Enjoy the good weather. Don’t forget about the people you love.