Hi My Name is NOT Action
A few months back I lamented about my lack of creativity and desire to find some outlet for my artistic urges. I’ve tried my hand at various things and when I went to the Florence Griswold Museum to paint for my friend Liz’s 30th birthday, I actually LOVED painting. I went and purchased a small paint set that week. And it has sat, unopened, for about a month now.
What I should do is stop writing at this exact moment and rip open that paint set and start making something right now. Or I could keep writing- blog stuff, freelance, my creative writing. Or I should go for a walk since exercise is something I’m not doing enough of these days. Or I should dust.
All of this to say is that I say- A LOT- what I should be doing, what I know I need to do, etc., but I’m a woman of a lot of talk and no action. Here’s the honest truth- at my heart, when it comes to my life and getting things done, I am a lazy procrastinator.
I think I’ve always known that about myself but was in denial. So why come out of the procrastinating ( not organized or clean) closet now? Mostly because this lack of action in my personal life is, I am realizing, what has made me most unhappy with life the past few years. I’m not being harsh with myself- I’m being realistic here.
I write about the things I want to be doing with my life, the things I want for myself and all, and don’t follow through. The public statement of “I’m going to do this” has only helped a bit in terms of accountability because in almost every occasion, once you publicly proclaim something like ‘I’m going to do a 5k,” then people comment on it once, then forget about it, because people have other things going on in their lives and their own things to be keeping track of, so it really doesn’t matter if you are keeping up with your thing. And if I never say anything about my goal again, then it probably will be completely forgotten by all but my inner circle of people.
And this constant setting myself up for something and not following through has been a trend for the past few years that has led to a lot of unhappiness and I can say probably was a huge factor in the demise of my marriage. I say I want to do something and the minute it gets hard or actually involves work/sacrifice/risk, I shut down to it, make excuses, or cry out for help hoping that someone else will do it for me or push me along.
So why procrastinate and be lazy? Fear. I’ve totally let the fear and worry of failure play out in various ways for so long. Fresh out of a marriage, I’ve used the phrase “I’m hypersensitive to failure” so many times in the past few months, I’m even sick of myself saying it. Fear of failure, fear of change, fear of actually maybe liking something or doing something outside of my box. I don’t go walking because I’m afraid that three weeks of exercise and eating right still won’t mean weight loss ( dumb!); I don’t start painting because I’m afraid I will not make nice things, have wasted my time and money, and maybe I will be careless and make a mess of my house ( so so stupid). As I write them out and list them off in my head, the Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder is saying- “Kristen are you serious with this?”
So how am I to get past this fear of failing before even trying? I know there are great and amazing things in my life that I have never tried before and I took the jump and it worked out, like moving away to college, going to grad school, or buying this house. I’m trying to write down the things I am afraid of and push past them, to realize how silly I am making each situation by worrying. I’m also trying to make things about small action items each week. It isn’t a foolproof plan and even as I sit here on my day off contemplating all the things I could accomplish or do with my day, the lazy procrastinator in me wants to take over for a day on the couch with some movies and a book. But I’m making the choice to write this now, then get up and eat, followed by a walk. Maybe if I stop worrying so much about the big picture of life and focus on getting things done from moment to moment I’ll realize how ridiculous my fear of failure has been.
So there you go- me, writing a blog about making a life for myself and trying to find happiness and goodness everyday, when in the confines of my little house, I’m just sitting here like a lump on a log. Maybe coming clean will help me realize how ridiculous I have been and maybe I can finally learn that being a person of action is the best kind of self love I can practice for myself instead of just sitting on the couch. Maybe.