It’s February, and I don’t know about y’all but I’m in a rut. I’m stuck. In a funk. And I know I’m not alone, because as stated above, it’s February; days are cold, tempers are short and buttocks are very, very wide. Ok that last one just might be me, but mine is wide enough for all of us, let me tell you. Anyways, in this terrible, cold, unforgiving month, right in the dead center of winter (the cold season starts in October and extends until May where I live- your sympathy may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org), as I was moaning, in this frigid month that makes people do strange things like contract “you” and “all” despite not being from the South, at times, one can get into a routine. And not a good kind of routine, more like a “Why are the Kardashians contributing more to the world than me?” routine.
Well, I’ve got a funk buster for you. Back when I used to run, (I know it was awful, the only reason I did so was because my mother would chase me the entire time with a giant spider. You may send your sympathies to email@example.com) as I was saying, back when I used to run, and I wouldn’t feel like running, which was always, my mother would say “Just put on your shoes and run for fifteen minutes, after that time, if you still don’t feel like running, turn around and come home” then she’d shake the feared arachnid in my direction. This was a super sneaky tactic because if one adds this up, unless you’re in the habit of running fifteen second loops around your house, in all likelihood, you’ve been tricked into a thirty minute long run. A strategy almost as devious as my mother’s ability to animate that rubber spider into something that looked like an escaped nightmare.
So look at your To-Do list, or your Project List, or your List Of Things Too Awful To Make A List Of and grab the lowest hanging fruit. To determine which item is the low hanging fruit, subject it to the following test; upon reading or thinking of the item, is your next thought “Well, it IS slightly better than stabbing myself in the thigh with a fork repeatedly”, then do that, for fifteen minutes, that’s it. No tricks, no rubber spiders, just fifteen minutes. Pick one thing that you don’t hate, unless it’s running, because we can agree that no one actually likes running. Or farting, unless you live alone and have excellent ventilation.
It sounds overly simplistic, and that’s because it is, I actually learned an entire language using this method. My agreement with myself was that I would read a French comic book for fifteen minutes each night, no matter how tired I was, no matter if I didn’t understand much, no matter if I had read the exact two pages the same three nights past, no matter what, I read. And now I speak French.
So I’m using this same strategy because I have a baby. So my list is endless, and full of things like the art piece that I’ve been in the process of finishing FOR EIGHT YEARS. My painted covered albatross is hanging in our soon to be nanny’s room. So at present, the nanny will arrive and ask “What’s that?”. In it’s current state, my artwork looks like modern art that someone threw under a bus, then deciding that wasn’t bad enough, threw bits of sand and muck on for good measure. And I could lie, responding with “It’s our Paul Klee, one of his early years, isn’t it precious?” or I could tell the truth “That’s my art piece. I shall finish it when my mother finally gets around to cleaning the basement.”*
For the record, the art piece isn’t even at the top of my list, the reusable diapers with elastic so saggy that they could pass for an elderly gentleman’s underpants are the only items meeting the “Better Than a Stab Wound in my Femoral Artery” criteria. However, fifteen minutes adds up quick, especially on a daily basis, so I may very well get to my art. And if not, everyone is invited to come by my house and enjoy our young Paul Klee.
*Please nobody tell our nanny that my mother moved out of the house and it was sold before she ever got around to cleaning the basement.
I might have exaggerated slightly about the whole being chased by a rubber spider bit, but my mother DID sing and dance around my exhausted, still running body (my brain had floated away in self preservation) as a way of taunting me into finishing a run once. It’s also possible she viewed said action as “encouragement”. I love you Mom, I’m sorry I told your untidy basement secret to the interwebs.