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Nonnegotiables

 
John F Dean
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In counseling/behavioral circles there is an old term referred to as "Nonnegotiables".  Those are the normally little routines we have in life that makes life normal for us.  And, while they may be of critical importance to the individual,  they may be invisible to others.  Examples might be reading the Sunday Newspaper, having a glass of bourbon in the evening, or a shower in the am  (vs pm).

My primary  nonnegotiable is having 2 cups of coffee in the morning.  What is your nonnegotiable?
 
Anne Pratt
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Sleeping with the windows open until it becomes extremely cold, well into winter.  
 
r ranson
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Cave time - in excess of normal.
Coffee - first thing.
Darkness during sleep hours.
 
Carla Burke
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Bedtime routine with John: feed the fish, snuggle up & watch them, while we talk about our day, or plans for the next one, or life in general, or what color the stars really are... Then shut off the lights, snuggle up for a few more minutes, kiss goodnight, and go to sleep. When we must be apart at night, we still curl up in our respective beds, and talk on video chat.

Morning coffee, after I let the chickens out, to freerange, and walk Charlie.
 
Skandi Rogers
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I've found watching my family that people develop these habits as they age, so it's something I associate with getting old and inflexible and any time I think I might be developing something like that I deliberately stop it. I don't drink caffeine in the morning after I found I was having to have it to feel "Normal" the only thing I can think of is hubbs and I say "I love you" in silly voices at night when he tucks me in, (I almost always go to bed first) but it's not something that has to be done, we don't do it by phone or text if one of us is away.
 
elle sagenev
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Dinner at the table as a family.
 
Matt Todd
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20 minute nap after work. My brain needs the reset button. Some are jealous of my ability to power nap, but don't realize it's also a bit of a burden. Because if I don't get it, I do not function well.  
 
L Allen
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A walk through the garden first thing in the morning, often with coffee in hand. The weather has to be pretty foul for me to forgo this, and then I'll feel off all day.

And then at least two hours of reading every night. We don't watch television at our house, but I can't sleep without my nightly down time.
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Planting a garden.
Cooking my own meal a few times a week at a minimum.
A few hours of quiet solitude per day.


There are more things, but because of my current living situation I'm being forced to go without a lot of my "nonnegotiables". It's slowly driving me nuts! I can't even cook for myself because everybody wants to use the kitchen first.
 
William Bronson
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Days where I don't make, cook, cultivate or clean are generally days I go to bed sad.
My current occupation involves little that scratches that itch, so when I get home,  I usually change into my "play clothes " and go DO something!
Even if it's just sorting screws in the shed,  it feedse in. A way shuffling paperwork never will.

When I have spent the day attending parties or some such nonsense, my wife will remind me that the memories I have made with and for my friends and family count as the best kind of making.
My gut disagrees but it's not (entirety) in charge, so I've decided she is correct.
I still prefer celebrations where I'm cooking and cleaning, or better still building and planting.
My family knows that the best way to get me to make time to hang out is to request help with something...


 
John F Dean
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To give a little background,  one of the things that really ticks me off about nursing homes in this country is their lack of awareness of nonnegotiables ...and many other things.  If a person gets out of bed at 4:00 am wanting a cup of coffee that person will not get a cup of coffee. They will get a sleeping pill at 8:00 pm.  If a person seeks alone time instead of going on an outing, they will get an antidepressant. In most LTC organizations I have seen, there is minimal room for individualism.
 
John C Daley
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Suggest something be got rid of.
Try and tell me motorcycles are dangerous.
Ask me to have coffee in a takeaway cup and drink it in a car!!! I like to sit and have coffee. Its like a 'stop light" for my body and brain.
 
Huxley Harter
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Barefoot.
 
Jason Hernandez
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Unless I am in a workplace that requires full length trousers, I wear short shorts. Do not try to cajole me into wearing longer ones.

If it is cold enough in the house that I have to "put on more layers," it's too cold.
Craigslist-Pride.jpg
My uniform
My uniform
 
Janet Reed
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As I age I find many of my friends are full of non negotiables.  Not for me.
 
Jordan Holland
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Staying away from people who cultivate drama.
 
Dennis Barrow
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Coffee while I let the chickens out.
 
Trace Oswald
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Not so much a routine, but still a non-negotiable.  I will always have a dog.  I could not be in a relationship with someone that said I couldn't have one, or didn't like them.  100% non-negotiable.
 
Paul Sofranko
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Two mugs of coffee and about 90 minutes of solitude (prayer/meditation) in the morning and one coffee and 30 minutes of quiet time in the evening.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Paul,

I have the need for two cups of coffee as well. Odd, in that one large cup does not work.  It has to be two cups.
 
Lindsey Jane
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I wear a necklace every day that has my daughter's birth constellation engraved on it in a little disc (She is a pisces). If I forget to put it on, I feel horribly disconnected from her. I know it's all in my head, but there you go. What can I say. Put it on when she was 3 months old and every day thereafter. When I die, after my body is composted, I told my Husband to throw the remains in a hole, put the necklace in there with them and plant a blueberry on top of me.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Trace,

I can see  where a dog could be a nonnegotiable.   It is certainly the kind of thing that an outsider might underestimate its importance to you.
 
Paul Sofranko
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John F Dean wrote:Hi Paul,

I have the need for two cups of coffee as well. Odd, in that one large cup does not work.  It has to be two cups.



I didn't mention that I have a wide assortment of mugs and I spend up to a minute or two determining which one to use for that day. It's symbolic. For example, I'm Catholic and keep to the old rules regarding meatless Fridays. So, my Friday mug has to be either the one with seafood on it, or, if that one is unavailable, my Mr. Spock (from Star Trek) mug. (He was a vegetarian.)  For Sundays it has to be something religious. For middle-of-the-week it has to be something like one of the smiley mugs (past the ’hump day.”) Saturdays is a free form day (anything goes.)

My wife just gives me that look. (The "You nuts” one.)
 
Carla Burke
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Lindsey Jane wrote:I wear a necklace every day that has my daughter's birth constellation engraved on it in a little disc (She is a pisces). If I forget to put it on, I feel horribly disconnected from her. I know it's all in my head, but there you go. What can I say. Put it on when she was 3 months old and every day thereafter. When I die, after my body is composted, I told my Husband to throw the remains in a hole, put the necklace in there with them and plant a blueberry on top of me.



This is SUCH a thing! John bought me a necklace, when my dad died. It's a small, sterling, heart shaped micro-urn, with my dad's birthstone and a tiny bit of his ashes. I don't take it off. About a year ago, he added my patron saint medallion. That chain might as well be part of my flesh.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Paul,

I am not fussy as to which cup, but it does have to be 2 cups.  In other words, two 6oz cups are more acceptable than one 16oz cup.  I actually feel cheated with the larger cup. Sort of offering a child the choice between three 1 dollar bills or one 20 dollar bill.
 
John Weiland
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Paul Sofranko wrote:Two mugs of coffee and about 90 minutes of solitude (prayer/meditation) in the morning and one coffee and 30 minutes of quiet time in the evening.



Wow....yeah...just chiming in on this one.  Why two cups??!..... I have no reasonable answer, but it's the first cup immediately after rising, then the second cup before noon.  After that,....a possible third cup is negotiable.  Ditto with the meditation/down time.
 
denise ra
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What a fascinating thread for peeking into people's lives. I also peruse others grocery carts, bookshelves, and houses at night when the lights are on and curtains are open.
I had to give up my morning tea , even decaf, due to caffeine sensitivity. In my Scotch-Irish-American family for three generations and probably many many more, tea with milk and sugar was always the morning beverage. Quitting was an emotional process which required deeply noticing the thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations associated with my habit. Now I can be happy smelling someone else's tea. Or not.
 
John F Dean
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Hi Denise

Coffee and tea aside, what are your personal quirks that make your day complete?
 
denise ra
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John F Dean, drinking water daily seems to be my only non-negotiable.
 
Michelle Muphys
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Im off grid, using a septic, miles from others, in covid lock down and curfews.
Sh_t has gotten real for me;

Food security is a non negotiable thing. We literally had empty stores. its improved now. But im not wanting to be so dependant again, asap

My and my families safety and PPE was my non negotiable, and I resigned last week as a front line nurse because of the risks we are asked to take, daily. The lies got to me. "you are perfectly safe and do not require PPE" "More masks arrive next week" when you never got any previously. New policies gallore! insisting you use hand sanitiser, that is nowhere to be seen.  So safety is non negotiable. I dont want to bring back covid to my family.

Loving and caring for my family, and seeing them, touching them, smelling them, hearing them. Its been six months! I have missed my grandaughters crawling AND walking firsts. I have a grandson ive seen twice in 6 months.


 
John F Dean
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As an RN, I am sure you and I could exchange war stories for an eternity. Suffice it to say, I dont blame you.
 
Ash Jackson
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"A town with no cars that can feed itself."


I'm sure it seems abrupt, or not in keeping with the spirit of the exercise, but I realized it really is my answer.

I hadn't thought of it in terms of being "my non-negotiable" until now. So; thank you, for helping me to refine my thinking.
 
Eric Hanson
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I am an early riser, so I like to rise about 3:00 am, come downstairs and drink my 2-3 cups of coffee to fully wake up.  3-5 is basically my me-time.  Sometimes I watch the light slowly increase outside and see darkness turn into light.  Sometimes I get on Permies early to see what I missed over the night.  Those two hours really help me get through the day.

Eric
 
John F Dean
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Hi Eric,

It sounds like we have a similar start to our day.  You do rise earlier than I do. I normally have fast cup of coffee on the run while I address the livestock. Then me time comes.  

Years ago I taught an introduction to grad school short course. One of the hardest points that I had to get across was the importance of me time.  Many students felt they were somehow cheating their families if they had any me time ... of course, that was after I had to explain what me time was.  Before I stopped teaching I did a very informal follow up and found that the students who objected to me time dropped out after the end of the first semester.
 
Eric Hanson
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John,

I really learned the importance of me time my first year of teaching.  Pretty much any teacher will tell you how grueling that first year really is, but in my case I has a couple of factors working against me.  The first was that I was a last possible minute hire so I had absolutely no time to prepare before having my first class.  Every day I taught 5 classes, graded 5 classes, and prepared 5 classes.  The real time consumer was all the prep work.  I knew that the first year was going to be tough, but having no prior prep time made that year really arduous.  What is commonly not visible about teaching, especially that first year, is the amount of prep time that goes in.  It is not uncommon to prepare 2 hours for a single hour of class, and I remember times when I prepared 5 hours for the one hour of class.  Time was precious.

On top of that, I had 3 preps, which is to say that I taught three different subjects, each of which needed to be separately planned.  There is literally barely time in the day to do this.

That first year, my me time was from 4-6 pm where I went out and walked to get some exercise and an attempt to clear my head.  Those two hours saved me.  The rest of the time I was either teaching, grading, planning, planning, planning, doing miscellaneous paperwork not directly tied to teaching.  And when I was not doing any of that I was usually thinking about class, I even dreamed about it.

Fortunately, the planning pays off and subsequent years are not nearly so arduous, but that little bit of me time from 4:00 to 6:00 was what kept me going.

Eric
 
Bev Huth
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Morning coffee, clean refrigerator the morning of grocery shopping, take food and water for the dog, wolf and rat even if we are only planning an hour or so out.
 
Carla Burke
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Ash Jackson wrote:"A town with no cars that can feed itself."


I'm sure it seems abrupt, or not in keeping with the spirit of the exercise, but I realized it really is my answer.

I hadn't thought of it in terms of being "my non-negotiable" until now. So; thank you, for helping me to refine my thinking.



So, you want Macinac Island, MI. Expensive place to live, with cold, snowy winters, incredibly gorgeous summers and autumns, but if those things are good, for you, I think it might actually fit.
 
Ash Jackson
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Hey Carla, thanks for the suggestion!

I've seen pictures of Macinac Island, (and Fire Island, and others like it), but never visited.

Yes, "the way we used to build towns" is very much in the DNA of what I'm looking to find/create.
 
Cindy Haskin
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Sleeping with my deceased mother's feather pillow in my arms.

I might say the morning coffee, but honestly, some days I do without!

Bare feeties as much as possible. We have these horrible weeds that have a very thorny seed pod, called goatheads, and I DO NOT ALLOW these (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribulus_terrestris ) in my yard so that I can go barefooted anywhere in my yard space (tiny both because I live in town in a tiny mobile home park and because there is a 4'x6' partially sunken pond in the middle and fruit and shade trees and a few raised beds within the yard, but I still have the largest yard in the park!).

Staying away from neighbors who love to gossip about everything and everyone. I tried to be friends, but that kind of behavior is abhorrent to me. We now only swap sometime waves in passing or brief hellos.

I'd never given any thought to the elderly in nursing facility situations not being allowed their NON-negotiables. I take care of these folks while they are still at home, for a living. If they are special to me, and find themselves in a nursing home for whatever reason I will go visit them. It gives them a bright spot in their day, and something to work towards to get back home so we have more time to spend together. My last "special" client spent many months over the course of our years together in this situation. Her last stay saw her come home on hospice care because she wasn't making progress. It went downhill from there. She lived in this same park and I believe is why I am here now. I was close enough to be able to use a baby monitor overnights.

gift
 
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