I want to be a writer when I grow up. I always have. The sad thing that I’m starting to face is that I am now, more or less, “grown up” and my chances of becoming a writer seem almost as distant as they did when I was in fifth grade writing regurgitated fantasy plot lines with flat dialogue and unpronounceable character names. The problem now, however, has less to do with the abysmal quality of my writing and more to do with my sheer lack of motivation.

When I got hired on at my new job, I was thrilled about the split shift schedule. I figured my day would go something like this:

6:30 – Arrive at work

9:00 – Leave work, drive home

9:30 – Work out and shower

10:30 – Snack healthily and sit down to write my best-selling sci-fi novel

1:00 – Break for healthy lunch and a bit of tv or reading

2:00 – Head back to work

6:30 – Arrive back at home to hang with my hubby

How much more ideal could a schedule be? I have a huge block of time all to myself during the part of the day that is hypothetically a very good span of time to be mentally productive. On either end of working for myself, I thought, I would be getting paid to do good work with awesome kids, and in the middle, I would turn myself into a healthy and soon-to-be-famous human being. The reality is much less glamorous.

6:30 – Arrive at work

9:00 – Leave work, drive home

9:30 – Run errands, which inevitably equate to a mental justification for skipping the gym and eating an unhealthy snack even if I arrive home at 9:45

10:00 – Sit down in front of the t.v. with my knitting and/or lesson plans, justifying my vast consumption of Netflix by the drawing nigh of Christmas or the need to make sample projects for my kids

11:00 – Second unhealthy snack, in the midst of watching t.v. and knitting

12:30 – Lunch. Healthiness depends on my mood and current moral stamina and is usually compromised by chocolate for dessert

6:30 – Arrive back at home to hang with my hubby

My job is as great as I hoped it would be, but my personal motivation to the imagined schedule is another story. Changing bad habits is a tough business. It’s so much easier to justify my actions than it is to confront the wild but logically consistent nonsense that stands in the way of my becoming the person I wish to be. The crazy thing is that I actually sort of enjoy working out these days, just not as much as knitting. And I enjoying writing. Just…not as much as easily consuming the witty dialogue of other writers.

Why is it that the thing I want to do with my life feels like it’s standing in the way of mindless enjoyment? My deepest feelings of contentment have always come from a job well done. From a jog well run, from a story well-written. I enjoy apples and celery, turkey and whole wheat bread.  I just can’t seem to convince my active self that my long-term health, happiness, and sense of a well-lived life are a more sound investment than artificially-flavored taste-bud euphoria and cleverly justified laziness.

My mother-in-law has a trick for keeping her eating healthy–she doesn’t allow herself to eat any sweets during the work week, but on the weekend she allows herself to indulge herself as she pleases. I think I’m going to adopt the same rule regarding not only sweets, but also t.v. to keep myself in line. And maybe, just maybe, I will manage to get out of my own way for long enough to write my book and get in shape.

2 thoughts on “Love-Hate

  1. Paul addressed the same dilemma in Romans… the very thing I want to do, I don’t; and the thing I don’t want to do, I do… welcome to being human!!


  2. Oops, is this Tuesday??? Thought it was Saturday…. guess I shouldn’t have had a mini-Milky Way right after breakfast:) What would life be without goals……or chocolate??? Love you


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