Monday, November 26, 2012

Dread vs. Tread

Have you ever put off something because you just knew it was going to be hard, boring, tedious, or all of the above? Even if putting it off makes that task even more difficult, boring or tedious? That's dread for you- a nasty little emotion that makes us panic for no reason- most of the time. And the times it does warrant a little distress, it's never the big hullabaloo we thought it was going to be!

Like doing dishes. or cleaning the oven. Or packing up a house. Not that I speak for myself, of course. I never dread or panic. That's my evil twin, Elizaboob who does that. Actually, she would make a good scapegoat for my next example. Let's call our ladies Elizaboob and Elizadidit. (think Highlights magazine here folks!)

Let's say Something comes up. It doesn't matter what that Something is, but it's Something that needs to be tended to within the next few days. Just enough time to dread doing it. How do these ladies handle it?

Day One:
Elizaboob would start off with a non-nonchalance bordering on laziness. 'I have plenty of time to do this' she tells herself, and feel relieved that she doesn't have to think about it until tomorrow.

Elizadidit sighs, puts on some good music, and gets it over with. Afterwards she realizes it wasn't nearly as bad as she thought, and has time to relax before everyone gets home.

Day Two:
Elizaboob wonders how she will get Something done, and needs to plan so things stay interesting. She makes lists, charts and even Googles information about Something so she's ready when the time comes. She winds up going to bed late because she had to finish re-writing the checklist for the seventh time.

Elizadidit was done yesterday and has time to spend doing other things, dread-free.

Day Three- Deadline:
Elizaboob has three hours to get Something done, and all her plans fly merrily out the window when Disaster Strikes, usually involving the kids. Now she is trying to do everything at once, missing the deadline by an hour, and the Something looks like it was thrown together by rabid guinea pigs. She is stressed, worn out, and bedraggled, regretting ever putting the darn thing off in the first place.

Elizadidit is sitting on her porch with a glass of iced tea and some homemade cookies fresh out of the oven because she made her deadline two days ago. She'd help Elizaboob, but they are opposite aspects of the same person, so her existential hands are tied. She eats her cookies and drinks her tea, so glad she wasn't dealing with Elizaboob's dread.

Maybe you're Elizaboob. Maybe you're Elizadidit. And maybe you're a little bit of both, like me. I just hope that we all see that dread isn't the answer- action is. The more we dread it, the faster and harder we should work to get it done, and get it done right. All I know is I'd rather be the chick with tea and cookies than the one who needs therapy!


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