Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Because We All Know Tomorrow Never Comes

I’m really quite terrible at being an adult and doing things that seem like second-nature to other responsible adults. 

Things like laundry and dishes.

And vacuuming.

And showering.

I have video games to play, beer to drink, Netflix to watch and friends to high-five, all right?

It all comes down to procrastination for me.  I procrastinate doing housework and say I’ll do it later, or “Tomorrow”.

As any good procrastinator knows, eventually, all of those things you’ve been putting off build up to the point that eventually you have to spend an entire day or weekend or month or decade setting things right.

The thing about procrastination is that putting off what I need to do doesn’t actually ease the underlying anxiety (no matter how slight) I feel about needing to get it done.  This makes way for a whole new slew of negativity to wash through my brain.  Whenever I’m putting something off, the entire time I’m doing whatever I’ve decided to do instead, in the back of my mind is that angry voice saying “Hey, Stinky! You should be doing the dishes instead of killing Templars!”

The angry voice gets even worse when I realize I’ve been procrastinating doing things that propel my life closer to the “grown-up” life I want to lead.  I’m talking about things like improving my skill at piano, getting a degree, learning to balance my budget, exercising, eating healthy, taking a political stand, helping friends, building a family – I keep procrastinating doing things that can help me to further who I am and really love the life I lead.

When I procrastinate these important things, my negative self-talk gets worse and I stop believing that I am worthy of living a life I can love and be proud of.  I stop believing that everyone has the right to live a good life and I start believing that happiness just isn’t in the cards for me. 

When I’m on top of my game, I know this isn’t the case.  When I’m on top of my game, I know that I am in control of my destiny. I remember the old saying: “If you’re looking for a helping hand, take a look at the one at the end of your own arm.”  I remember that I am the one who is putting off doing things that will make me happier.

Several months ago I started a new system.  It was that every day I would do at least one thing to encourage my personal growth.  I was sitting at home, watching Netflix (Doctor Who, so really, it was kind of like I was helping my personal growth) and those negative voices in the back of my head were keeping me from enjoying David Tennant’s gangly awesomeness. 

That was when I finally figured it out: If all I do is put off doing things that are good for me, I’ll never enjoy my relaxation time.  And I really love my relaxation time.

So now, when I get home from work, I make sure that before I just settle in with a video game or a Netflix marathon that I do something that helps me to grow.  It might be something as simple as jogging in place while I watch an episode of HIMYM.  Or I might practice painting something new.  Or I might just finally breakdown and do the damn dishes. 

But by always doing at least one thing to help myself grow as a person, I’m bringing more positivity into my life and I’m enjoying my relaxation time guilt-free.

You are in control of your destiny too.  What have you been putting off that will help you feel better about the direction your life is heading?

Much love,
Annie Jay

UPDATED: Just wanted to add - the exercising in front of the TV thing came from this link.  Definitely worth checking out for some new exercises to try out in lots of different situations!


  1. Great post, love this take on things. I've done a good job of getting a lot of things in order lately, and put even more into motion in the last week or so, but I always want to strive for more, even if they are just little things. Maybe I'll steal your jogging in place while watching a TV show thing, or just the idea of working out while I watch TV, to make it less of a waste of time. :)

    More power to you!

    1. I would love to claim the idea for working out in front of the TV as my own, but I actually got it from this:


      It has some great ideas for workouts you can do in lots of different places :-)

  2. Yep. This is a great post. Exercising. I know I would feel so much better and my back would hurt a lot less if I just worked out for a little bit. Good strategy in making sure you do your adult thing(s) before you sit down to relax because once I'm down, I'm down.

    1. Exactly! Don't need to go all hardcore on exercise all the time, just add a little more movement to your day!

      And yeah, I am the same way. Once I'm on a Netflix marathon, I'm done for the night ;-)

  3. I love it. However, I'm reading this instead of cleaning up my own apartment. A little irony for your day. :)

    I always save everything for my days off and end up not getting to enjoy the days as much as I should since I have so much on my to-do list.

    Keep doing this, I feel like it's keeping me in your head a bit and I like it there. <3 Liz in DSM

    1. Ohh I do the same thing. I always think "Sunday. I will clean on Sunday." But then Sunday comes and I'm hungover, or going to lunch with the girls, or visiting my parents, or DOING ANYTHING BUT CLEANING.

      And I definitely will keep doing this, but I hope you get out of my head, you giggle too much and I have had a wicked headache :-p

  4. I call it "productive procrastination" when I fold laundry to put off organizing my finances, or clean the kitchen instead of calling back a relative (who probably just called to ask if I was married yet). I actually love domestic chores :)

    But going deeper, the feelings of unworthiness when you don't accomplish those tasks, I completely get. For me, I sometimes feel unworthy and terrible because I'm single, because I'm enjoying life "too much" (i.e. no kids or mortgage), and satisfied with my career at the moment.

    Keep doing what you're doing!

    1. The biggest problem I have is that these things make me forget that I have a great career, home, family and friends. They take away from my enjoyment of what I have now and then I feel like I'm being ungrateful for the life I lead. So I have to constantly be reminding myself that my life is good and there aren't things to feel sorry about.

  5. I completely suck at being a responsible adult too - I need to get started on a mountain of ironing as I type this. I like the idea of the jogging in place during HIMYM xx

  6. Dude I'm 35 and I SUCK at all those adult responsibilities. I totally get your negative self-talk thing...I do it too. A friend of mine suggested cleaning during commercials (picking dog toys/etc in the living room on one set, vacuuming on the next, dusting, etc) or doing laundry in front of my favorite show.

    Sometimes that helps, but honestly I dream of making bazillions so I can pay a housekeeper, because I'm the crappiest housekeeper outside of hoarders. Ugh. One day at a time, right? Oh, I also find wine/beer while doing dishes is helpful. ;)