How to Handle the Rigmarole

By Patrick McNerthney 

Sometimes there’s this thing that happens to writers where they end up writing for the wrong person because sometimes  “being lazy” and “being self-involved” collide.  I.e., we reclusive, grumpy, writer-types will receive a project, then kinda go, “Well this is what I think, so I’ll just write about that!” Or worse, “Well, this is what my client wants me to say I think, so I’ll just write about that! Yessiree! It’s gonna be great. This job is so darn EASY!” 

Except, as it turns out, what “I” think or what my “client” wants me to, rarely coincides with what the reader NEEDS. So what happens is…nothing. Because it only takes the reader about three seconds to realize I/we absolutely, positively DO NOT have their best interest at heart. And if I/we don’t have their best interest at heart, why the heck would they (a.) read our stuff or (b.) take the action we’re suggesting?

(It’s the heart of the matter, but easily forgotten. What do people need to hear?)

This phenomenon of lazy self-involvement is called “The Rigmarole,” and it applies to any and every job title that’s ever existed in the history of humankind. But for the sake of your sanity I’ll keep this specific to our respective trades. 

It works like this: Whether writer or caregiver, the people we serve want something else besides what WE want. Guaranteed. No bones about it. For realz.  

Think of it this way: the people I write for might want something they’ll remember for a long time, but maybe I want to get a column done so I can pick my kid up from school. Or maybe your residents and loved ones want you to take them on a journey that’s thrilling, challenging, and seemingly never-ending—but maybe you’re just exhausted, and want to go home. 

(Oh yeah, I love going home too…)

See what I’m saying? Picking up what I’m puttin’ down? What you and I want RARELY coincides with what the people we serve want (despite our good intentions). Nope. No way.  

None of this means you and I are bad people. It’s just the reality of “The Rigmarole.” It’s life. But the real question is, what should you and I do about this? Criticize ourselves? Feel shame? Give up? How do we handle The Rigmarole? 

We can decide that work matters. Especially when it feels like a slog. It matters. And that changes everything. Sure, I still have to pick up my kid from school, and you may need to go home because you’ve got nothing left to give. Which is fine. Because the work still matters. So we do our best, in the moment; while adhering to our schedules, and listening to our bodies when they tell us it’s time to stop, rest, and recharge. 

The good news for your work as a caregiver is there’s a unique way to give those you serve a journey that’s thrilling, challenging, and unique—especially when you feel like you’ve got nothing left to give. It’s Fine Art Miracles (FAM!) FAM offers a chance to use creative expression to overcome the anxiety and depression your residents or loved ones struggle with in the face of social isolation and depression.  Art Therapy, Music Therapy, Drumming & Exercise, Dance & Movement Therapy, Art 2 Go Packages (this month it’s Matisse Romantic Images!), and SO much more, connect the elderly, children with challenges, and anyone needing help with life’s daily tasks with the confidence, self-worth, sense of mastery, joy, and sense belonging they need to feel like they both MATTER, and are NEEDED by their friends, family, and community. 

Pretty powerful stuff. The best part is (drum roll)…FAM will do the heavy lifting for you! Both getting started and working with the programs on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis is a snap. So drop FAM a note or give them a call today, they’re happy to help!

Well, my wife is out of town for a few days, so I’m fully in charge of my kid. Which means it will take a lil’ extra gumption to put my reader’s needs in front of mine. Hmmmm…I wonder if FAM can help me with that? I’ll give them a call and see if they can pick up my son at 4:30 today. Let’s see now, if I’m on Pacific time…


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