Wednesday, I just couldn’t do it. I tried. Really! I did! But I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have it in me.
What is “it,” exactly? Everything. “It” was any task I tried to take on yesterday outside of what I was absolutely required to do. “It” was:
- Waking up early to go for a run
- Washing my hair
- Drying my hair
- Networking at a meeting I went to
- Running after work
- Writing the blog post that I owed you days ago
- Cooking a healthy dinner
- Cooking any dinner
- Avoid alcohol on a weeknight
- Getting ahead on freelance assignments
- Preparing my lunch for the following day
These are all things that I normally would do (I mean, obviously not run twice, but you know what I mean). I’m teaching 8 barre classes this week, but Wednesday was my day off and I just could not force myself to do anything. Silly, really, since I finally had some free time to get some blog work or freelance stuff done. I didn’t post my normal blog entry on Wednesday and it was eating at me. Respond to comments? No. Work on freelance stuff? No. Make dinner? Also no, which is virtually unheard of during the week. Save for the occasional Domino’s order, we never eat out during the week. It’s not a good use of money, it’s not very healthy, and honestly, it’s just not necessary. Normally, I whip up one of my quick prep meals. But Wednesday night? No. Just…no.
I’d be totally happy to spend the rest of this blog post telling you what a lazy glutton I am, the reality is that we all know that’s not the truth. It was one day in the big scheme of what has lately seemed like a lesson on “How to cram even more tasks into your absurdly busy day because you have a compulsive need to be productive” – a movie better known as my life. But despite the fact that I logically know that and that taking one day off from cooking, working out, and doing extra work is actually normal and even – gasp – healthy, I still found myself fretting over it for hours that day while trying to decide what to do. This is an actual conversation that took place in my house:
- Me: “What do you want for dinner?
- AJ: “I don’t know, what were you thinking?”
- Me: “I don’t know. I don’t want to cook, but I should cook. We shouldn’t go out. It’s not a good use of money.”
- AJ: “I think it’s ok if we go out, we never go out during the week. Where do you want to go?”
- Me: “Mexican. But that’s stupid. It’s May 4th. No one eats Mexican food on May 4th. We’re just going to eat it again tomorrow. I really want a margarita but I’m not drinking during the week so I shouldn’t get one.”
- AJ: “Ok, well, we can go and just eat. You don’t have to get a drink. We can eat Mexican food two days in a row. You love Mexican!”
- Me: “OMG I’m not going to a Mexican restaurant and not getting a margarita!”
- AJ: “Ok, get a margarita? I don’t understand?”
- Me: “BUT I HAVE TO COOK I ALWAYS COOK”
Some days, I feel so sorry for him. I mean, I’m insane.
But like I said, I just really didn’t want to do anything. So we went out. And I drank a margarita. And then I came home and I didn’t write a blog post and I didn’t work on freelance and I couldn’t even motivate myself to watch a show on the DVR to free up some space. So, I did what any normal person does in that situation and I went to bed and tried to go to sleep and instead stayed up really late thinking about what a total nut job I am. I mean, who gets that worked up over the ethics of eating Mexican food? Am I really incapable of just taking one day off from completely exhausting myself and attempting to overachieve at everything? The answer is obviously yes.
Even as I write this on Thursday, I feel guilty about the time I “wasted” yesterday. I mean, clearly nothing burnt to the ground. We didn’t go bankrupt. I didn’t fall behind on anything. I didn’t gain 10 pounds from one margarita and not working out for one day. But I feel like I completely, utterly failed because I just could not do it (ALL THE THINGS). Or I could, but rather, I didn’t. I didn’t do anything besides what was absolutely required. And when you spend the majority of your time compulsively thinking about ways to go above and beyond, only doing what is required feels like failure.
I recognize that this thought process isn’t healthy, moderate or balanced. I recognize that it’s not ideal. But I also don’t know how to stop the train wreck. Some days, I think I’m headed for burnout and I better slow down. Other days (most days, really), I think “I can do this. I’ve got this.” And the train keeps rolling. I’m not sure what it’s rolling to, exactly, but I like feeling like I’m maximizing my productivity and accomplishing a lot. I’ve always said I’m not an adrenaline junkie, and I’m not – but I recognize that there is a certain amount of adrenaline and an addictive nature about being busy all the time and always having something more to do. Perhaps it’s a matter of placing my worth in the things I achieve rather than the person that I am. But the person that I am likes to achieve things, so…who knows?
I’m not really sure what the point of this blog post is besides to ask you if maybe I have some type of syndrome that you guys are aware of besides “obviously insane” and “wracked with anxiety” and “compulsive perfectionist.” Please let me know if there are any labels for this behavior that you know of, because I love labels. I could look it up on WebMD but I know that if I go that route I will become convinced that I have an incurable disease and then you’ll have to read a post about that, so let’s work together to save you from that pain. Please leave out any possible syndrome suggestions that sound like “immature” or “obnoxious, self-absorbed millenial” because I am already aware of those and have assigned them to myself as appropriate, thank you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go wash my hair.