I lost my entire morning worrying about something that had nothing to do with me.
Then I called L'Oréal to ask if they could decipher when a product had been manufactured based on the manufacturing code.
Afterwards, I scrolled around on Pinterest and beat myself up a little for a complete inability to write useful posts. Or organize my house.
All of this started because instead of writing first thing this morning, I wandered over to Facebook and stumbled across someone complaining about something and it distracted me.
Whoosh. That's the sound of my energy funneling down the drain. Plop. That's the sound of me throwing my focus into the vast waters of inconsequence.
I do this all the time. And I know better.
The only reason I'm writing to you now is because I read "Is it just me?" by Jenny at TheBloggess.com. In it, she asks her readers to honestly account for how many days of the month they feel productive. She admits to feeling like a fraud and watching her bar for what she deems a successful day come closer and closer to reaching the ground.
She's not happy about any of it and would like to feel less alone about all of it.
Thousands of her readers have already responded. It's not necessary for me to comment. But it did inspire me to write about how I can relate.
In reverse order, let's look at what I did wrong just this morning and... all the time, anyway:
1: I think about your writing but I don't comment. It's not true that it's not necessary for me to comment on Jenny's post because there are already thousands of comments. For one, she's a friend and I know better. More importantly, I see people say the same sentiment of "they don't need my comment" frequently, meaning a writer can have "enough" comments or that they don't need our help or support because they are already so popular.
This isn't true. Ever. You never know when your comment or note will be the one that really sticks and makes a difference in their continuing to write or helps with their day.
2: I don't take my own advice. I just wrote again about the importance of not checking email or Facebook or twitter or what-have-you before you pay heed to your own creative work. For the millionth time, I'll quote Tsh from SimpleMom.net in saying, "[Y]ou need to pour yourself out before you fill up with other people’s ideas."
One of a hundred solid reasons for this is the rabbit holes you can fall down. And yet I did it again this morning. I checked Facebook and gave my energy away to nothing.
3: I forget that Pinterest is full of lies. Pretty, pretty lies:
Tell me exactly how to just stop being sad and start being awesome. I assume it's something you can do in under 15 minutes?
Lies. Pretty, pretty lies. I'm not going to stop playing on Pinterest, though. Pinterest is like religion: You might not be able to replicate the ideal, but it's nice to try to come close.
I should totally make that a pinnable quote.
4: I waste a lot of time on random nonsense. I love skin care items. Moisturizers and balms and face cleansers are my favorites. But they don't come cheap so I buy skin care items at our local salvage store.
I am fancy.
Local Target catch on fire? All the stuff that didn't burn may go to salvage. It shows up on our salvage store's shelves covered in a little soot but generally, well, salvageable. That means you can buy your favorite Method dish soap for 70% off if you are willing to wash the soot off the container.
I'm willing to wash the soot off the container.
Then I come home, throw it in a little tub in my bathroom, and forget about it until I need it. After a while, I can't remember when I bought what. Which means I can't remember when those items might expire.
Skin care items have a shelf life of 3 years, unopened and at room temperature, and generally don't have expiration dates marked on them. But what if you can't remember when they might have first met a shelf?
So I called L'Oréal this morning. I have a little pot of L'Oréal Eye Defense I found in my little plastic tub and... I can't remember if I bought it last month or 3 years ago. And I really want to use it. But I don't want to go blind.
Surely L'Oréal keeps track of when they manufactured products based on the manufacturing code?
Nope. According to the woman on the phone (at the extension I reached by choosing the "expiration dates and shelf life" option), that makes a lot of sense but they don't have access to that information. Because "we can't just go around looking up when products were made." I'm paraphrasing.
I agreed that I was being silly for thinking they might keep track of that kind of stuff for disorganized skin care lovers like myself, taking care not to mention that I bought this particular pot at a salvage store, and got myself off the phone.
And then I spent 10 minutes grousing to myself about how this was not silly, while opening and closing the little pot, smelling it and shaking it to see if it was going bad, and contemplating using it or throwing it out.
Oh, right, and another 5 minutes telling you about it.
5: I waste a lot of time worrying. I expend energy on all the wrong things all the damn time. The amount of thought I put into every single thing I do or don't do is astounding. Worse, worrying about the wrong things leaves me with little time and even less energy to attend to the things that really matter.
Our culture loves to label things, so we could label it self-sabotage or procrastination or fear. Maybe we could even put medical labels on it like anxiety or ADD.
But what if it's just normal? And the only difference between us and them is that we have the capacity to articulate our peccadilloes?
We are all running in a dozen directions and make it worse by spending our time on the wrong things. I waste a lot of stupid time worrying about doing a better job on everything everywhere all the time always amen.
My antidote to worry has been spending a lot of solid time with my family. I don't worry when I'm with my kids. Whereas I am hard on myself about so much elsewhere, with my children I can just be.
But the thing is, I suspect I may not really want to change. Those peccadilloes? They make us who we are. Our quirks make us interesting and textured. Albeit hard to deal with.
My neurotic over-analysis of everything everywhere all the time always? It makes me good at what I do. All of it. Sure, it makes me pedantic but I learn to compensate. I'm really good at a few things and really terrible at a million others and I think about all of it a lot. That's what makes me me.
So, hey you. Say hey back. I'm pretty sure we're okay.
PS: I totally put that eye cream on. You know I did. Should it... tingle?