Silly, I know.
I know that there is no easy fix in life, at least when it comes to the big stuff. I know that if you go to the gym on a Tuesday you won’t instantly be thin on a Thursday (darn). I know that eating right doesn’t just happen: you have to plan for it. I know that writing every day, at best, is a vague possibility unless I actively set aside time to do just that.
But I thought that since I wanted it so bad and had been contemplating change so long that it would be easy this time.
Silly, I know.
My bad habits are easy. It is easy for me to reach for quick carbs in the form of crackers or cookies when I haven’t planned ahead. It is easy for me to heat up a can of so-so soup rather than remember to unthaw that chicken a day ahead of time. It’s easy for me to say that I don’t have time to go to the gym when I look at the long list of other “more important” things I need to accomplish that day.
But you know – these habits didn’t form in a day, either. I made choice after choice for month after month to get me to this point, too.
I repeatedly chose distraction over productivity. I chose quick instead of nutritious. And let’s be honest: many times I chose TV over sitting down with pen and paper.
You Always Do What You Want To Do
What’s got me in a reflective state of mind today is yet another weekend spent at the vet.
Last week, our cat Zipper got sick. I spent an (expensive) Saturday morning at the vet, brought home some antibiotics, and thought everything was going to be fine in two weeks. A little inconvenience, but nothing out of the ordinary.
After three more trips to the vet this week, another expensive Saturday morning, and an X-Ray, we discovered that our cat has massive bladder stones that need to be surgically removed ASAP, to the tune of a helluva lot of money. So, after getting the news while Scott was in Michigan for work, I came home on Saturday and kind of zoned out in a little pity party, mad at everything and everyone, including myself.
This was not how my weekend was supposed to go.
This was not how my season of rest what supposed to happen.
This was not helping me make or reinforce good habits.
This wasn’t what I wanted.
So I moped for a while. I made a latte and sat down to watch a movie, The Answer Man. It’s one that Amazon Prime keeps suggesting based on my viewing history, but I keep ignoring it. On Saturday, I was too lazy to search for anything else, so I hit play.
And the movie was just what I needed.
It’s a story about a man, Arlen, who 20 years ago wrote a book with the answers to all of life’s hard questions, and then sequestered himself away and never talked to anyone. In a series of somewhat humorous events, he ends up answering the questions of a young man, Kris, who just got out of rehab, and who is now dealing with an alcoholic father and a business that is going bankrupt. One of their exchanges really hit me right where I was:
Kris: Why can’t I do the things I want to do? There’s so much I know I’m capable of that I never actually do. Why is that?
Arlen: The trick is to realize that you’re always doing what you want to do… always. Nobody’s making you do anything. Once you get that, you see that you’re free and that life is really just a series of choices. Nothing happens to you. You choose.”
Now, I know that I want to eat cookies and not broccoli. I want to sit and read and not go to the gym. I want to feel sorry for myself that this is all happening.
We all have our moments when we are allowed to to do the “wrong” thing: to take a break, to eat pizza instead of chicken.
But when I add all those actions up – all those little wants – they don’t equal my actual goals, the BIG wants: to write a book, to eat healthy, to exercise more.
So I need to change the little wants. I need to make my everyday actions reflect what I actually want to do in life, not what I think I want to do in the moment.
Are you doing what you want to do right now? If not, what is holding you back?
[An update on Zipper: surgery went well and she is back at home, her meds making her overly affectionate and VERY vocal. But I'll take it.]