Saturday, September 24, 2011

Three Unlearned Lessons, One Learned Lesson

I think I've done my share of evolving in this lifetime, but despite my advancing years, I find there are still lessons the universe keeps tossing my way in the hopes that I'll learn from them. So far, hasn't worked for these three:

If I don't watch a Netflix movie the day it arrives or within 24 hours, I won't watch it. Ever. I am on the Netflix one movie, unlimited plan. By mistake, Netflix sent me two. I have had two movies since July. Yes, July. You read that right. I keep thinking, next weekend, tomorrow night, maybe next weekend, when I come back from here, when I come back from there. And they sit there. This past week I decided that if I hadn't watched them by the time I went past a mail box on Thursday, I'd mail them. I didn't do that. Here it is Saturday afternoon and I'm still clinging to some sense that I'm going to watch one of the two. Or both. This week, they are definitely going back.

If you haven't worn it in a year, get rid of it. Talk about clinging. I, who spreads the gospel of the joys of decluttering, has crap I can't let go of. Case in point: three summer dresses. I have not worn them for two summers, maybe three. But they fit, but they are classic style, but they are easy to care for, but they are comfortable. BUT I DON'T WEAR THEM. If I could bottle the energy that I've spent fretting and considering whether these three dresses should go, I could have written the great American novel. To add to my embarrassment, these dresses are probably ten years old. So this week, my helper is coming and off they are going to the thrift shop. Out with the old, in with the new.

I remember years ago, seeing a Cathy cartoon, where she was going through her closet and making up a set of special circumstances whereby she'd wear a certain piece of clothing, and that's what I've done with these. Like an outdoor, informal wedding reception during the summer in the country. Oh, really Pat? How many of those are you typically invited to? And you'd change dresses twice during the reception? And here's an insight: I have enough money to buy a new dress. So out they go. I hope.

My writing may be for business, but it is still creative. And there is no ON button.  This ordeal happened again this week. I had a deadline on Friday for writing. I was totally unmotivated when I finally started on Wednesday. Instead of saying to myself that I am not feeling it that day, I waste most of the day in childish procrastination. But the stress is going up. Thursday I get up and the words flow like water. I get it half done with ease. Then I stop. On Friday, the words flow like water for the second half, and I turn it in on time.

The problem with this lesson is that it is based on fact: a deadline is a fact, but even though Sane Pat tells Crazy Pat it will get done, it always does, Crazy Pat talks louder than Sane Pat. Crazy Pat has more convincing arguments, and those arguments inevitably lead to my sitting on a piece of cardboard, with dirty fingernails, over a subway grate because I missed a deadline.

But all is not lost. I am continuing to learn lessons, such as this recent one:

Even though a bill is due on the first on the month, you might want to pay it sooner to relieve stress. I have three bills due on the first of the month: my mortgage, my maintenance/co-op fees, and my health insurance. Of those, the only one I really care about is my health insurance as I imagine being hit by a bus on the first of the month, and the insurance company saying my payment wasn't received until the second of the month. Yes, I know that I am actually paying in advance -- so the October 1st payment is actually going toward November, but when you're making yourself  crazy, facts don't really enter the picture.

I don't really care about my mortgage arriving on time since I have until the 17th before there's a penalty. And I don't really care about the co-op fees as there are really no repercussions other than a second notice asking to send the check.

I was spending too much energy discovering that if Friday is the 28th, let's say, which sounds like I still have time, that Monday could be the 1st... whoops, no time left.

So I have written on my calendar on the 25th of the month to send in these bills. I feel like a damn CFO, in control of every penny. I've done this now for the past six months or so and it has been a good new habit.

What lessons have you left to learn? What lessons have you learned recently?

1 comment:

Mary Mc said...

I like your lessons - I'm still working on those too. I've learned again and again, including today, that most procrastinating is really stupid and counter productive. I have a large box to mail to a friend - it was all sealed and addressed and I put it in the trunk of my car to take with me when I went out this morning, thinking I could stop by the post office about 9:30 on the way home. As I started for home, I thought "you don't HAVE to take it today, you could do it another time". I had to force myself to take a route home that went by the post office (not even a block out of my way), I pulled in to the almost empty parking lot, went in where there was no line, had it on its way in 10 minutes, tops. But I had to force myself to do it the easy way - I was ready to schlep that big box on the subway during rush hour, disrupt my lunch with a trip to stand in line, and worry about it the whole time instead. The only plus is I would not do anything today so I could go be lazy. Anyway, my lesson is that if I ask myself what would I gain by putting something off, and I can't come up with a good answer, I WON'T PUT IT OFF! thanks for the inspiration