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John O’Leary shares 5 ways to manage your terrible, horrible days that he learned from bestselling author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Judith Viorst.

My friend, have you ever had a day where it seems every little thing that could go wrong did go wrong?

The alarm clock forgot to ring.

The milk was expired at breakfast?

The kids can’t find their shoes!


You’re late for your first appointment of the day.

Your friend only talked about herself at lunch!

Alas! Chores await you at home… or maybe:

“I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day… some days are like that.”

My friends, this is an excerpt from the children’s classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. And I absolutely love it because it reminds all of us (not just our kids) to not take ourselves so seriously!

Yes, things are going wrong.

Yes! We can absolutely choose to be dramatic about it.

Or we can remember that there are days like this, laugh at our silly mishaps, smile and move on.

Judith, who is exquisitely poignant, relatable and funny in her writing, is even more so in person. She joined me on my Live Inspired Podcast recently to talk about Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, her most recent book Nearing Ninety and Other Comedies of Late Lifeand the countless pieces she wrote during the 60 years in between.

5 Ways to Manage Terrible, Horrible Days (that I learned from my conversation with Judith):

  1. Laughter is the best medicine to truly Live Inspired at any age.
  2. It’s hard to be hip over 30… but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it! (Fun fact, this is the title of one of her seven books in her “decades” series!)
  3. Being playful came naturally in our youth; for our wellbeing, we must cultivate it as we age.
  4. Being there + paying attention is very good rule for a lot of things in life.
  5. Some parts of us never vanish – the capacity for childlike wonder lives within middle-aged people.

These were just the first five that came to mind, but there are so many nuggets of fun, whimsical wisdom within our conversation.

Don’t miss Judith’s take on how to amplify the joys and manage the tribulations of life. As she is nearing 90, she’s got a lot to share on how we can boldly live whatever she we currently find ourselves today. Listen to Episode #144 here.

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