Whimsy for Today

Becky Kueker

I just learned there is such a thing as “anti-skills,” you know, personality traits to leave behind. Simply stated, what you should not do is just as important as what you should do. From what I understand, bad personality traits have run rampant since COVID, just another side effect of what society seems to deem flaws we have to rectify.

After looking at traits such as being flakey, passive-aggressive, indecisive, or constant bragging, I think we all have definitely refined those skills over the last year. For me, what started as non-aggressive behavior in 2020 honed itself right into the pitbull category! Don’t get me started on being indecisive. Scanning takeout menus online, sifting through hundreds of coupons, and then deciding on Lyft or DoorDash to deliver; what a dilemma and the height of indecision!

Being unfocused was another one. Getting up every morning during the pandemic, deciding in which part of the house to spend my day was unfocused at its best. Many days, after wandering from room to room with a cup of coffee in search of the perfect place, I recreated the playbook from my first book, Hiding in My Pajamas, plopping up the bed pillows and switching on Netflix. Remember when your mother said you wouldn’t accomplish anything by lying in bed all day? In my defense, I did learn about history watching The Crown!

To combat flakiness, we were told to take time to think things through. Seriously, did we not have eons of time during 2020 to think things through? According to my husband, who rolled his eyes daily, I thought things to death, moving constantly from the ridiculous to the sublime before I could settle on an outcome.

As far as bragging, how many people did you talk to last year who just kept boasting about all they accomplished for the year they stayed at home? Yes, I will admit there is a tad bit of jealousy there because perhaps I really did not accomplish everything I wanted to do. I am proud to say I became an expert at surfing the web for YouTube videos that taught me amazing things I did not know. I am certain the toilet paper roll crafts videos took my skills to new heights, and I have a ladybug and three pencil holders to prove it!

I admit my “anti-skills” did kick in last year. I blame it on the internet culture changing daily at warp speed. Spending more time online can be both exhausting and enthralling. Watching the whole world belly up to their in-house bar, it’s no wonder I became hooked on videos about making cocktails. Chocolate martinis, yum! I watched celebrities post depressing photos of themselves, without their hair and makeup stylists, insisting they were now one of us. I laughed and cried at cute dog videos and sang to every ’70s video I could find. The good news is I have learned to laugh pretty hard at myself, and I did refrain from the eyebrow ring I was seriously considering. Stay strong, America!

After retiring from a career as senior partner in a commercial architectural and interior design firm, Becky Kueker published a memoir on life after retirement, Hiding in My Pajamas, that launched a national speaking career. Her second book, A Classic in Clown Shoes, was published in May 2019. Both books are filled with deep, funny, intimate discussions and poignant stories from women and men who have proven that aging does not have to define you and that laughter changes everything.