Life Lessons Learned in Middle Aged-ish-ness

If there’s one life lesson I’ve learned somewhere between young adulthood and now (middle aged-ish-ness) it is this:

Procrastination is the mortal enemy of a happy, contented, peaceful life.

No, seriously. It is like THE worst. The WORST. THE WORST.

As a matter of fact, stop reading this and go do one thing that you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to because you’ve been too busy, lazy or distracted. I mean it. Go. It can be something small. There’s always something. Do it, then come back.

Ahhhhhh. Doesn’t that feel amazing?? You didn’t do it? Fine. Imagine you had. Imagine you had cleaned that messy, cluttery space you’ve been meaning to take care of. Just one messy, cluttery space. Imagine looking at the clean, organized space in its place. Again, isn’t that feeling amazing? It’s better than chocolate the week before your period, ladies. It’s better than sex, fellas. No lies.

Now, just because I’ve learned that procrastination is a happiness killer, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that I’m immune to its evil charms. Here’s another lesson, a much more brutal one:

As we get older and our responsibilities multiply, time becomes a commodity that is in very short supply.

All of a sudden, there aren’t enough hours in the day or days in the week and, even if we worked around the clock, we couldn’t accomplish everything on our to-do list. But, listen up! That is not an excuse. It simply means we have to carefully pick and choose. And, well, let’s face it – sleeping, eating, personal grooming, working for a living and caring for our offspring have to be top of the list. And, there’s not much time to accomplish anything else. Enter the next lesson:

Prioritizing is ridiculously important, and everyone has to do it.

But, to do it right, we have to decide what actions will bring us the most value. We have to figure out what will give us the most bang for our buck. We need to actually think about action and reaction, cause and effect.

If I spend my day off relaxing on the couch, reading, watching Netflix versus getting my housework done, what is the impact? Do I need that R&R more than I need to put some semblance of order back into my home after a busy week? Here’s the kicker: there’s no right or wrong answers here. Sometimes, the need to recharge is greater than the need to accomplish.

The harder decisions come once the routine stuff is taken care of. So, let’s say it’s Sunday morning and my routine, make-or-break chores are done. (Young People: these are the ones you need to buckle down and get done, no matter what. These are the chores like cleaning your rooms, doing your homework and all the other stuff you say is unimportant or can wait but that you know deep down you’re gonna feel better if you do. I wish I could somehow make you understand how much happier you would be if you would just make taking care of business a priority. How much angst and anxiety you would relieve yourselves of.) Sorry, I digress. So, back to the scenario above, let’s say the routine chores are done and I’ve worked out five days this week. But there are a million little things around the house that I would love to get done. I’d like to meal plan and grocery shop. I’d like to clean closets and cupboards. I’d like to be able to see the floor in my basement. I’d like to wash my truck. I’d like to visit with friends or family. I’d like to do something fun with my little kids. I’d like to spend some quality time with my older kids. I’d like to connect with my husband.

But, time is not limitless. I cannot accomplish all of the above in a day or in a week for that matter. So, I have to choose. I have to consciously choose. And, I have to be able to happily live with my choices. I’ve no right to complain. I’ve chosen this life. This life is a result of the choices I’ve made to this point and I love this life.

As grownups who have our health and free will, none of us have the right to complain. We just need to choose what we want to accomplish in this moment, in this day, in this week, in this life and then we need to get at it. And, when we choose to take a break from working towards our goals or when life gets in the way, we need to be kind to ourselves and know that’s ok, too.

Anyway, I know there’s something y’all have been wanting to accomplish and, with all the love in the world, I tell you that Nike nailed the most important life philosophy long and ever ago:

Just do it.

Now, I need 400 more steps before midnight to reach one of my little goals…so off I go to walk around my house to give myself the satisfaction of that mental checkmark.

 

 

 

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