Monday, October 5, 2009

The best laid plans should really go get laid.

There comes a week in every girl's month where she envisions herself as a more perfected specimen. This week is flanked by other weeks where remembering to run the dishwasher and actually disposing of the umpteenth "low-cost dental care" flyer lining the mailbox is sufficient. But during this particular week, it's all about ambition.

I love to talk a big talk to myself. Sometimes quite literally. I imagine myself being interviewed about how I finally kicked some of my bad habits or assembled the perfect work wardrobe entirely from secondhand clothes, or the perfect apartment decor from objects found on street corners. My fantasy responses would sound something like this:

"Well, yes, I just eventually forced myself to go to bed at 9 on the dot, so it became much easier to wake up at 6:00 AM. If I hadn't developed this habit, I would never have had the time to earn that black belt."

"I just stuck to my guns about eating lunch and dinner in every day until I saved up enough for my new vacation home in Belize."

"Oh, you like my dress? Thanks! I recently took up a sewing apprenticeship in my spare time."

"This arm definition is from my 2-hour long daily home yoga practice."

"Actually, I made this table myself out of reclaimed wine barrels."

And so on.

To kick off my monthly week of lofty goal-setting, I decided that I would get to bed early on Sunday (and for the rest of the week) and wake up extra early for a morning jog. Never mind that I haven't ever gotten up at 6AM for anything but a flight, even when I was a cross-country runner in high school. I was going to be one of those people who prance over dew-covered grass and smile beatifically as they pass still-darkened windows fueled by the glow of inner peace and unshakeable confidence.

So I settled into bed with a book at 10PM, about an hour before I'll usually even think about sleeping. I read until I was drowsy, then switched off the light.

La la la.

Around 10:30 I switched on the light and picked up my book.

11:30. I started getting nervous about that alarm that I'd set for 6AM. No way of achieving the coveted 8 hours at this point.

A few minutes past midnight. I tapped the little button on my alarm that dims the light so I couldn't see how badly I was failing at the very first step in my quest for perfection.

Who knows what time it is now. Dear god what was that noise??????

(Tried to decide whether or not to investigate the noise. On went the bedside lamp.)

4:30 AM, must've finally dozed off at some point, having officially wussed out on the whole potential burglar/serial killer/stalker noise investigation idea. Whoops, left the lamp on. Hence sudden disruption of (now) desperately needed sleep.

I did eventually wake up and do some yoga. And I did make a delicious breakfast that would've done the Lake Merritt Farmer's Market proud. But I had to laugh a little. I rarely have trouble sleeping these days. I'm lucky if I get five pages further along in my book. That whole idea of perfection was like the psychological equivalent of an ice cold bucket of water to the groin.

I kept thinking about the people I serve and how many of them have an all-or-nothing mentality about success and failure. One of my favorite questions is "So, how's that working for you?"

So how's that working for you?

"Well, let's see. Since I officially decided to stop translating my fantasies about ultimate perfection literally, I've found that I can pick up one or two small things at a time and practice getting really good at them instead. I vacuumed every week this month. I went out late on Friday and spent a little money, but I also made a delicious dinner from a new recipe last night. Oh, and I happen to sleep like a 10 year old kid on vacation in Hawaii."