I like to say that I go to bed at 10:00 pm. The reality, however, is that when my 9:30 pm reminder to power down goes off, it is often ignored. Then I quickly give myself “just 5 more minutes” four, five or even six times over to complete whatever task I don’t want to stop doing.
It Is Instant Gratification At Its Finest
I also like to say I get up at 5:30 am. When Bad to the Bone goes off with a vengeance, it’s usually enough to get me up and around for the day, except when I start singing along. Snuggling deeper into the covers, my feet tapping along to the beat, I remember thinking to myself, “I love this song!” before drifting back to sleep for just a few minutes more. Or so I told myself.
I snapped awake to the barking dogs, what time was it? My alarm clock is glaring 6:37 am, mocking me. How did that happen? I launch myself out of bed in a way that a gymnast would envy, my mind already racing with all I have to do before walking out the door at 7:20 am for my 8:00 am class.
Suddenly, leaving 44 stacks of papers to staple in the morning when I have ‘lots of time’, didn’t seem like such a good idea. Nonetheless, I grab the stapler and begin in earnest until there are no more staples. More staples in the desk. Crisis averted. Put the water on for coffee, let the four-legged alarm clocks out and the stapling is flowing… until it jams. Backup stapler to the rescue! Until it dawns on me that it’s the backup for a reason. No problem, I rationalize, I’ll just do it when I get to work.
The usual wardrobe stare limited as I remind myself I have to get going, I dress, make the bed, do my hair (messy bun is in, right?) and head out to start the car and water the dogs. And that’s when the smell hits me. Whoa. Someone got sick in the garage. I didn’t have time for my normal morning routine let alone this unexpected mess. In a flash, the little hamster on the wheel in my head raced to finish everything I had to do in the non-existent amount time I had to do it in.
In a panic, I forgot my part in all of these unexpected events. Then, I made it about me. Why was this happening to ME?
And in a split second, my dad’s words crowded it out. He would say,
“When something shows up and it’s not what you want. Choose it anyway. Choice gives you power.”
So, I stopped and chose the morning just as it was. I got to the task of cleaning up the garage, checking the dogs, and I got to work in plenty of time to finish the stapling task before class started. Lesson learned, Dad.
The secret to life, after all, is playing the hand you were dealt like it’s the one that you wanted.