Well, here we are.
You've done your civic duty and voted, gotten in political fights on Facebook or wherever, and now, there's nothing you can do. All the TV watching, electoral map tinkering and poll predicting in the world won't change the outcome. Again: There's nothing you can do.
There's. Nothing. You. Can. Do. But. Wait.
You know, in the old days, people huddled around the radio or got their news in zillion-point typeface in the paper the next morning. Now we have around-the-clock coverage and real-time results and punditry and all those crazy maps and sweet mercy, it is not a game for the weak.
If you are thisclose to having a good ol' American breakdown, here are some things that you can do to keep your mind from straight up losing itself tonight:
1. Go on social media lockdown. If your phone pings every time someone tweets or updates their Facebook, figure out how to turn it off. Arm yourself with a book, a real glue-and-paper book, for those times you would normally thumb through your phone in an idle moment.
2. Stay home. Restaurants and bars and public places are full of people talking about interesting stuff, and the most interesting thing in our life right now is the election. Take a night off from people and political conversation. And while we're at it, pants.
3. Hit up your DVR. Recorded shows come from the past and don't know the future, which is now the present in which you are living, in which an important decision is being made. (Or watch "What Would You Do?" on HLN. We're bringing it to you all night!)
4. Develop an interest in something you were never interested in before. Now is a pretty good time to decide what football team you like or how to make an origami crane, but be wary! The Internet is full of information, and one errant keystroke can land you somewhere like here and then you are informed and everything is ruined.
5. Look at kittens. LOOK AT ALL THE KITTENS.
6. Take a bath. Baths are the best, and in the stillness of the fragranced water, no one can hear your rapidly beating heart but you and your God.
7. Get a good night's sleep, book-ended by quiet time with the deity, spiritual focus or non-spiritual de-stressing technique of your choice. Go to bed early. If you normally wake up to a radio or your phone, try rousing to an old school beep or tone that won't spoil your morning with an excited text or radio announcement.
8. Treasure the morning. This is a special time. When you wake, lie in bed and consider the delicate state of duality in which you currently exist. This is Schroedinger's Presidency, the possibility for anything lingers in front of your open eyes. One world will come to be, but for now there are many worlds, and you are an infant in all. Maybe you should take another bath.
9. Try to extend the feeling as long as possible. Don't listen to the radio during your commute. Swear your spouse to silence. Don't even LOOK at a paper. As your time of innocence ends, prepare your reactions for either outcome. You may be a little sensitive coming out of your cocoon, and the last thing you want to do is sob or rage at the office or in front of your kid's daycare provider.
10. Get yourself together. IT'S OVER! Please continue with your normally scheduled life.