The top 5 things I’ve learned in my 25 years on this planet. Man, that’s a challenge. I hope you guys don’t expect me to be like super duper profound right now because all I can think about is how I need to go grocery shopping since literally the only thing I have left to eat is chocolate.
Which brings me to…
4. Errands and Chores will never, ever end. EVER. I know I’ve written about this before, since it’s been a source of panic attacks, but can we just talk about it again for a second? You will ALWAYS have to do laundry. You will ALWAYS have to go grocery shopping. Or wash dishes/empty/fill the dishwasher. There’s a list of things that will always be on my to-do list, and I’m pretty sure that’s slowly driving me insane.
I mean, of course, you’ll always have to do these things unless you’re rich enough that someone else can do them for you… I grew up quite privileged and we had a house manager to do things like go to the grocery store and do a lot of the laundry (Not my own. I was responsible for that, at least). Her name was Joy, and I feel like the things we put her through–like the fact that she’d wipe the house down only to have me purposely put my fingerprints everywhere because I was afraid of kidnappers–must have made her name seem ironic.
3. Follow Through.
Shut up, guys. I know you’re all rolling your eyes on this one, and believe you me, I am too. I am pretty terrible at following through with things I say I’m going to do if I don’t absolutely HAVE to do them. Like write the second half of this post. Or go get that new filter for my air conditioning unit (it’s November, so fuck off AC filter). Or tell someone we need to talk and then promptly not talk to them for months because I’m too scared about confrontation. Or say I’m going to start working on my next book and instead binge watch the first two seasons of Penny Dreadful in four days.
The point is, I say I’m going to do something, and the longer I put it off, the more anxious it makes me… to the point where I get more anxious about following through than I do about just letting it fall to the wayside.
So I won’t follow through. And eventually that anxiety turns to guilt and eventually that guilt goes away and I forget about the whole thing.
I’m full of healthy coping mechanisms, if you can’t tell. Just a fountain of insight, here.
2. Everyone has a story.
This is a problem I’ve encountered in my writing. One that a former professor of mine (a wonderful author and even cooler person, Susan Scarf-Merrell) pointed out: every person, every character has an entire story. If you write a book with an antagonist and that antagonist isn’t a real person with wants and needs and dreams and disappointments, it’s going to show.
Surprisingly, it’s the same with actual people. You know that person you flipped off on the highway? They have a whole existence outside of what they did to you (even though I know it was very rude). That homeless person with the sign that you ignore? Not just there to test your humanity, though if you don’t even make eye contact, you’re kind of a dick.
This is a difficult thing to remember because we like to think of ourselves as the center of our universe. That makes sense, right? What that bitchy flight attendant said to me that one time was terrible, but, like, maybe she just got uterus punched by the hulk? She can’t just be a terrible person to highlight how awesome I am. Something had to happen to MAKE her that terrible person that highlighted my awesomeness. Unless she’s the devil.
She might be the devil.
This brings us to the number one thing I’ve learned in my 25 years on planet Earth:
It’s time to make fucking decisions, Whitney.
I am the most indecisive person in the entire planet, most likely. Probably. Who knows.
See what I mean?
Anyway, I was recently on an out-of-town adventure with the person I like to make out with sometimes (sorry mom!) and he became slightly irritated with me when he’d ask for my opinion and I’d be like, “Well, we could do this because BLAH or we could do this because BARF. So I dunno.”
And he’d look at me like I was the most obnoxious person ever (which is not untrue) and say, “You just said what I said back to me. That wasn’t helpful at all.”
After about the fifth time this happened during the weekend, I realized something: my inability to make decisions is not because I’m inherently indecisive, it’s because I am worried about making the wrong choice and making the other person mad. I am worried about seeming too bossy. So instead I never form an opinion on anything so as to avoid conflict with people who like to be really, really controlling.
The thing is, my significant figure is not controlling. He’s interested in what I want to do and (most of the time) genuinely wants to know what I’d rather do. When I defer on the decision making process, it frustrates him because I’m NOT BEING HELPFUL. And we all know how much I love being helpful.
(I can’t tell whether or not that comment is meant to be sarcastic. Oh well.)
Being outright decisive makes me nervous because I’m scared I’ll do something wrong. So I choose a dumb restaurant to eat at–what’s the worst SigFig is gonna do? Murder me? I don’t think so. I mean, he’s faster than I am, but I’m pretty sure I could use my feminine wiles to hypnotize him into a coma. Or something.
I would apologize for that last image, but I’m DECIDING not to. See what I did there?