…When you substitute what you should be doing with everything else that’s not what you should be doing.
Every day we have to make choices about what to do with our time. Much of that is dictated by choices we have already made. We have to go to work because we need to pay the bills for our houses and cars and lifestyles. We have to drive our kids to the store or soccer practice or spend time helping them with homework because we decided to have children (or decided to throw caution to the wind about the matter at some point). We have to mow the lawn because we have chosen to have a lawn.
Now that I think about it, almost all the things we spend time on are because we made that life for ourselves and there is such a very small amount (of time) left, that we are really free to do anything else. There is also some weight to each one of the things we have to do, or should be doing, based on the impact it might have in our lives if we don’t do those things.
For example, if you decided to stop going to your job, pretty quickly someone would decide to stop paying you and then you would be in a tricky pickle about how to pay those bills. This is a lot heavier than, say, deciding not to mow your lawn. So what if the grass grows another week? What’s really going to happen and who is really going to care? You might be able to push this task off for a while without any residual affect besides maybe your neighbor giving you the stink-eye.
In my life right now, I’m living with the very strange attitude that none of it is that important and that, whatever happens, it’s all going to work out just fine. This is so very counter to who I have been historically that it’s kind of bizarre to think about. I question why that shifted and if it will be a permanent change in my life or if its just some temporary state I’ve dropped into for self-preservation while I attempt to recover from whatever perceived traumas I’ve endured in the not so distant past?
Years ago I would have freaked out if I didn’t have a job or was not making enough money to pay my bills. Yet right now, as I type this, its not really bothering me that much. Yes, I think about it, and I have some level of concern, but not enough to really press for more hours or find a full time job. I’m also not that concerned that my sink is full of dirty dishes or that I need to get my roof replaced. Large or small, the weight just doesn’t seem that heavy.
This aloofness has had an interesting impact on my daily choices. I feel more free than ever to just get up every day and do whatever I want. I feel more at ease with setting aside a task and not worrying as much as I would historically. In a way, this is fantastic because it means my life is less stressful. I enjoy going to the gym to workout. I enjoy going to walk around Walnut Creek. I enjoy writing and messing around in the garden and I’m choosing to do those things instead of things I should probably be doing. And I’m happy.
I’ve also found myself choosing to do things I normally don’t like in the face of some larger, looming deadline. For example, in the past week I worked on sorting and filing paper mail, reorganization of my filing system, and beginning to tackle the monster that is my electronic mail. I worked on patching the hole in my dining room wall where my old thermostat was and installed a new one. I took down my Christmas lights and finished putting away the last of the decorations. I even archived all my files from 2017 from my laptop and reorganized my external hard drive too. These are all chores I typically don’t care for (well, except maybe installing the thermostat, that was fun).
I’ve chosen to do those things instead of put more hours into work or reading for school or my first large assignment that is due on January 31st. I’ve procrastinated seemingly important things, and yet I still feel good. In fact, I feel great. Not only am I not worried about those heavy hitters, but I’m also super stoked about being productive on other fronts. I dig the fact that my office is now (mostly) organized and the fact that I don’t have to think about those damn Christmas lights anymore. I really feel like this is how life should be. I want to live this way all the time.
I recognize those deadlines and concerns are still there, and I’m certainly responsible enough to not let it go too long before I put in some real effort to get things done. I just want to continue to not stress about it. It just FEELS better this way.
So if this is what happens when you substitute everything that you should be doing with everything that’s not that.. then “challenge accepted”. Again, I don’t know if this is a temporary thing, but in any case, I’m just going to sit back and enjoy it.
Don’t Sweat the Small (or Big) Stuff,