Archive for the ‘Procrastination’ Category

So one of my guiltiest pleasures is browsing Hollywood gossip sites. Usually I scan OMG for the picture galleries (I especially like the ‘What Were They Thinking?!‘ gallery…) and today I discovered Parade Magazine’s site. (You know the insert in the Sunday paper written for the over 60 crowd). Of course I had to read the article on Ashley Tisdale since ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody‘ still plays daily in our house–AND we know all the words to Sharpay’s song ‘Fabulous‘ from High School Musical 2.

Then I saw this gallery/article on “What Celebrities Would Tell Their Younger Selves.” As brain-mushing as this activity is, this article really got me thinking. So many of them said they would tell themselves to relax more, and enjoy the moment. After I read the article, I went out on our back deck with my coffee and thought about what I would tell my present self from my older and wiser self: Stop wasting your time worrying about how Sadie is going to turn out. Enjoy the fact that she is an only child instead of carrying around all this angst about it. Even if you think you are doing nothing with your life now, wait! You’re going to love what’s coming next. Oh. And you are so not fat right now!


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It occurred to me in the shower this morning that I am paralyzed by fear. Stuck stock still, feet set in concrete. I’m scared out of my mind. And here is what I am afraid of: that I will never change. That I will always be wondering where my motivation is hiding. Wondering what my problem is–blaming the stagnant patterns in my life on OCD, or depression, or my childhood, or something else external that I have no control over (my sister’s death…). Scared to death that if I start something–anything–that I will just run out of motivational gas and go back to wondering when my life is going to change. I have started and fizzled out so many times–the memories of pushing off and heading out full speed only to fail and stop lay on top of each other in my head like a pile of unmovable rocks–heavy and unyielding.

The other obvious related bullet I’m trying to dodge is failure. I haven’t written on here because I’ve been so fearful of having nothing to say. A friend of mine over at Snarkington Post told me wisely on facebook the other day: “Blog about being blog-blocked.” Good advice. Of course the conversation started because her sister, my dear friend, told me gently (and I quote) “Update your blog you wiener!” I would link to HER blog, but she too has been on hiatus (wiener!).

So I guess that is what I’m doing. I’m just going to start and be boring and make mistakes and sound stupid. I found this super inspiring blog yesterday by Christine Kane. Her tagline is Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous. I love that. Especially because I’m in need of some courage. She wrote this great post about taking imperfect action. How taking action–however imperfect–is better than taking no action at all. Which is where I have been hiding. Where it is safe (but boring and terribly unsatisfying…)

I want to look my fear in the eye and not flinch. I want to roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders and just dismiss it.

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I have a teeny tiny problem with perfectionism. If I can’t do it perfectly, (I tell myself) I can’t do it. So projects pile up, clutter collects and my life goes from order to disorder in a blink. I have journal entries dating back to 1997 that say the same thing: why can’t I get my crap together? What’s wrong with me? Do I need a professional organizer? Should I pay someone else to clean my house? Why does life feel so hard for me??? (Haven’t I written this blog entry before…)

I’ve tried all kinds of house systems and ordered all kinds of de-clutter organizing books. I joined Flylady.com and bought a Bubble Planner. I’ve asked everyone I know: what works for you? How do you manage kids/house/stuff? Because I seem to suck at it. Even just as recently as last week, I went on an info spree and spent 5 hours (over the span of a few days) on the internet researching organization and productivity and housekeeping. Oh. and how to stop procrastinating. Years and years have gone by while I have tried to find the answer.

I was watching Kung Fu Panda with Sadie when I had my aha moment. Po’s dad finally reveals the secret to his best-selling noodle soup: ‘there is no secret ingredient.’ Then it dawned on me: I have everything that I need within me already. I haven’t been trusting myself. I’ve been beating myself up for not ‘succeeding.’ But what does success even mean? For me, doing something is better than the overwhelmed NOTHING I have been doing. So I decided to change my expectations of myself. Instead of a job well done, I’m going to settle for a job done half-assed. At least it’s done.

So I came up with a Plan for Half-Assed Success. I will add one or two things to my schedule and do them every day until I don’t notice I’m doing them anymore. I will write said one or two things in my planner every day and then highlight them when I’ve completed them. So last week I put in my planner: ‘make bed as soon as you get up,’ and ‘unload the dishes while Sadie eats breakfast.’ I was already doing these things sporadically–so it wasn’t earth-shattering to add them into my life. By the way,  I’m using the words ‘planner’ and ‘schedule’ loosely– I started using a planner at the beginning of January (a cheapy one from Walmart), and by ‘schedule’ I mean ‘the random stuff I do at random times in my life.’ So I did it. I wrote those two things down every day and highlighted them when I finished them. So YAY me! I will celebrate the small successes along the way: I now have unloaded the dishes AND made my bed all of last week and today.

My mom used to say ‘you don’t get praised for stuff you should already be doing…’ but I’m going to disagree with her. I made my bed and I ROCK! (I love you, Mom :))

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I started running after my sister died. Well, running is a little ambitious to describe it. Let’s just say someone walking at a very brisk pace could lap me repeatedly. I always thought I hated running, but somehow–right now–it is the only thing that seems to make sense to me. When I’m running, I feel like I’m right where I am supposed to be, doing exactly the right thing. I don’t have mundane things over my head like ‘I should be unloading the dishwasher right now,’ or even meaningful things like ‘I should be sending thank you cards to people so they know I’ve appreciated their kindness during my sorrow.’ Both of those things are important to do, and both feel like insurmountable tasks sometimes. I may not be able to do them, but I CAN run.

I was trying to figure out what is it about running that feels right, and I wrote this in my journal on Tuesday after I came home from the gym:

Running and stretching open me up. I feel creative and alive and connected to myself. I like the feeling of being present–I’m all there when I’m running. It’s like meditation: focused but loose–and I feel released and peaceful afterward. The rock-huge boulder that holds my mind back from motivation is rolled away. I feel worshipful. Joyful. Open.

I’m intrigued by this joy I feel in spite of my sorrow. I don’t know how connected to running it is, but I am experiencing something I never understood before. That I can be mourning and grieving, but underneath know deep joy. Not happiness, necessarily. But a right-ness. Peace that passes all understanding, perhaps?

The sun and the beauty and leaves and the smell of wood stoves and the crisp fall weather–even the pinecones on the tree in my backyard–they are all trying to tell me something. Being in this place, connected to these people at this very time–all of it feels like God is saying: I’m with you. I love you. This grief is not forever. I have plans for you. Look around! See my hand. I am here.

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So we had the Big Open House on Sunday. Here is the number of people who came to see the house: ZERO. Even with the balloons and the ad in the newspaper and the big sign at the end of our street. BUT, all is not lost. I didn’t clean the closet doors with a toothbrush (actually it is more like a dish washing brush, but you get the idea…) or wash down the baseboards for nothing. Yesterday we got a call at 4:30 from our Realtor saying that someone in her office wanted to show our house in fifteen minutes–could we be ready?

Why yes, we could! Because we spent hours and hours scouring the house for Sunday, it would only take about 10 minutes to whip it back into ship showing shape. I was at the library at the time with Sadie and her friend, Taylor, so I called Dan and he was on it in a flash. (I knew there was NO WAY I was going to get there in time–one 5 year old is slow enough–just imagine TWO of them who really think it’s funny to hide from me then run away when I say it is time to go…I needed at least 30 minutes to get them out of the library and into the car…)

A quick side note: yesterday morning (before I had any knowledge that someone would want to see the house later in the day and only give us 15 minutes notice to get it ready) I had the urge to vacuum. What?! I know! Sadie had been eating Cheetos in the living room, and I happened to notice. This is QUITE unusual for me. Normally I just let the orange crumbs lie until they start sticking annoyingly to my feet. But I thought, oh, since we already vacuumed the whole house, all I need is three minutes to make the living room look really nice again. Painless, really. Also, I made Sadie’s bed. Again, unusual. I normally just close her door and not think about it until she’s ready to go to bed again, and then I remember that I should be training HER to be making her own bed, but it’s too late since it’s bedtime, so I just throw it together so her covers can be right when she sleeps. Providential? I think so.

I don’t know what the young couple thought of our house, but as Dan keeps saying during this entire MADDENING process “It only takes one buyer.”

We shall see.

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Here’s what I should be doing: getting my house ready for our Big Open House tomorrow. Even after two cups of coffee and a lovely stroll around the neighborhood garage sales, I still can’t seem to gather up my motivation. SO MUCH needs to be done. Over and above  the normal stuff that already makes me cranky (i.e.  unloading the dishwasher…) It is just so painful. You’d think someone was making me staple my tongue.

I feel all this pressure, like if everything is NOT perfect, it will be my fault that the house doesn’t sell. This is irrational, like most thoughts that run through my head. And with a little effort, we can achieve a state of house bliss, but I must say, this house selling thing is getting old. I’m just tired of it.

I’m boring myself with my complaints. Bleh.

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So we’ve been having open houses and applying for loans and having cleaning frenzies, not to mention just having returned from NY where we put an offer on a house, and NOW is the time that Sadie gets the Chicken Pox?! Not that I’m complaining THAT much…at least she’s getting it over with. Here’s my question: what good is getting your kid a CHICKEN POX VACCINE if she still gets anyway??? People say that her case may not be as bad because she had the shot, but I’d like to say that my friend who’s daughter DIDN’T get the shot seems to have a milder case. The two girls are having a pox party as I write this. Since they both have it, her mom and I thought they might as well keep each other company. So they are in an oatmeal bath right now. Poor Sadie was up every two hours last night so uncomfortable. I’m hoping she doesn’t get it as bad as I had it…there wasn’t one ounce of skin showing. I was all pox. I’m talking pox on top of pox. It was hideous.

Anyway, I have a few minutes before I have to clean the house AGAIN. I’m telling you, living in a ‘ready-at-anytime-to show’ house is MADDENING. I’m already domestically challenged as it is (having gone 6 months at a time between bathroom cleanings, and no, I’m not exaggerating!) And now I have to watch EVERY crumb that falls out of the toaster. Though I will say that it’s teaching me some new habits–I’d really like to become the kind of person who notices the squalor I’m living in, and has the motivation to DO something about it. I don’t want to bring my pigpen ways to my new house. Which we will close on at the beginning of June by the way. But more about that later.

We’re showing the house tomorrow, and having an open house on Sunday, and Sadie and Taryn ate blueberry muffins WILLY NILLY at the table and you should see the mess. At least I CARE now. 🙂

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