This isn’t a political statement on the candidates or the outcomes, and I certainly don’t want to trivialize our fundamental democratic processes, but wow, this election season has been… a lot. Like, A LOT.

And while I strive to be an engaged and thoughtful citizen, all folksy determination with a can-do “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” attitude, my internal soundtrack for the past several months has been “AAAaaAaAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaAaAAAaa AAOOOGAH! AAOOOGAH!” on a loop. It has not been restful.

So yes, selfishly, I’m looking forward to the (temporary) relief that will follow certain things ending. The aftermath is going to be a bear, most likely, but at least I’ll be able to listen to the radio in my car again.

In fact, it has me thinking about all the things that bring me great relief, how they stack up against each other and where this anticipated post-Tuesday relief will fall amongst them.

In no particular order, some things that bring me blessed relief include:

n Waking up from the dream in which I don’t go to class all semester because I forgot I enrolled, don’t turn in any of the work and try to make up for it in the week before the final.

For a long time, this happened, inexplicably, with a two-credit History of Christianity class I took in undergrad, from which I remember nothing. It got to the point that I requested my transcripts to reassure myself that yes, I completed that class and got an undeserved A.

Now it’s happening with grad school, which I attended as a full-blown adult and not some callow 21-year-old, and I consciously choose not to attend class or do the work. My attitude in the dream/nightmare, I believe, is “eh.”

I cannot express the depth of my relief when I wake up and remind myself that yes, I graduated (and that it didn’t involve walking topless across the CSU campus in search of my shirt).

n Coasting into a gas station on fumes after driving at least 25 miles with the needle on E, having refused to stop at the previous gas station because it looked, and I quote my ridiculous self, “skeevy.”

n Realizing that the reason my head hurts is because my ponytail is too tight and then… taking it out. Embarrassingly, this happened the other day and my first clue as to the root cause of my headache should have been the fact that I looked 10 years younger.

But oh, sweet relief and a vow to myself not to tell anyone!

n Taking off my mask once I get back in my car. I happily wear a mask for the good of public health, but ah, the relief of taking it off in the car!

Someone, I forget who, commented on Twitter that this is the new “taking off your bra when you get home after work” type of relief, and she’s not wrong. Speaking of which…

n Putting on sweatpants. No matter what I’m wearing prior to putting on the sweatpants – heck, it could be a towel or a blanket with arm and leg holes – putting them on is always going to bring blissful relief.

That and donning my memory foam slippers, because I’m 117 years old and apologize for nothing.

n Finding my wallet somewhere absurd – under the passenger seat in my car, say, or in a shopping bag I never bothered unloading – after spending agonizing minutes searching for it and wondering, oh crap, did I leave it on top of the car at the gas station and drive away?

n Remembering my passwords correctly the first time when I’m at the bank and the teller is looking at me and I’m suddenly feeling like a criminal and on the verge of blurting, “Look: If I was going to turn to a life of crime I’d steal art or jewels, OK, not the contents of Rachel Sauer’s account, whoever she is.”

n Having that 1 a.m. phone call be an accidental butt dial, hearing the words “It’s nothing to worry about” and they’re actually true, headlights in the driveway or footsteps on the porch when someone I love is driving through a storm, levees that hold, walls that don’t buckle, checks that don’t bounce. A hot shower after a long day’s work.

n And also, unbuttoning my pants after Thanksgiving dinner.

I don’t know why I don’t just start out in sweatpants.


Rachel Sauer is at and would like to hear what brings you greatest relief in this time when we all need it.

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