Hijacked by a lack of self control

I really would’ve liked to have woken up and started writing right away this morning, but I couldn’t control the fact that I first needed to relieve myself, which I don’t feel motivated to do because it requires a walk down the stairs, through the garage, dodging laundry baskets, children’s toys, and a slobbery encounter with a chocolate lab. What happens by the time I do all of this is that my heart rate has risen and I almost feel obligated to wake up and start my day. I should probably start my day then and there, but my lack of self control over sleep habits overtakes me and so I return to still-warm blankets and soft pillows. I sleep an hour or so more instead of writing. When I do feel sufficiently rested and ready to charge the day I have no self control over my desire for a warm cup of something delicious. Most often it’s an Americano, or a nice cup of tea. I seem to require a few sips of this beverage, or at least its contents within reach, before I allow myself to go and complete anything else, like writing. I also don’t have self control when it comes to paying attention to my nephews. My littlest nephew calls me “Papa Dean” and this morning let me know that he wanted to see me the moment I walked into the house. So, before writing anything I play with him. He asked that I put a shoe on his foot, but only on one foot. Then I suggested that he put the corresponding shoe on the other foot to complete his attire. He agreed, and I put on the other shoe. He was compelled to show his other, more genetically correct, Papa what he had done to his feet, now covered in shoes, and it was at this point that I snuck away with my coffee in hand, back up the stairs, and returned to my chaise lounge chair to get going on my writing for the morning. My smartphone was turned off and so most distractions were eliminated, but I made the mistake of plugging it in to be charged while I wrote my masterpiece. I like multi-tasking like this. Moments later it began vibrating with text messages I’d received while it’d been off. It buzzed with exciting news just for me on the other side of the room and was begging me to get off my chair, set down my writing and see what it had to tell me. I ignored it at first, let it buzz its obligatory two notifications and then stop. It was at this point that my lack of self control kicked in again. I started to wonder what the messages were. Did it buzz twice? Would that mean it was one message with its initial alert and then a follow-up, or were there two quick buzzes signaling the receipt of two messages? And then I wanted to know who would be messaging me first thing in the morning like this. It must be important. Or maybe it was a message from late last night when my phone was turned off, and in that case it also must be important. I wasn’t going to let myself be sucked into the trap of responding to every beckon call of my smartphone, so I ignored for it five minutes while I checked my email instead. I hate spam just as much as the next guy, but I also like to be in the know, so I’ve signed up for an email newsletter or two in my day. This morning’s delivery of blog posts, deal alerts, and stimulating updates on clothing line launches were enough to make me outright giddy with excitement. The text messages didn’t matter anymore. I soon found myself reading an alum’s blog post about his experience at a local seminary, browsing T-shirt designs of a new clothing company launched this morning, following that local seminary on Twitter, looking at photos on Instagram, liking photos, judging photos, feeling various emotions about photos, reading my younger sister’s blog about horse training in Colorado--which was quite good and surprisingly applicable to even non-horse-riding people--and then realized that there was a business card I needed to design soon for my band’s gig coming up this weekend. Stop. Wait a minute. I came up to this chair to write. How did this morning get so off course? I clicked out of all the unnecessary links, checked my text messages and replied appropriately, but not in a way that would warrant a reply, and then opened up my blank page. Finally, it was time to get down to business. But then I kept thinking about that business card design. I really wanted to figure that out and my bro-in-law, who knows about some design programs that would be useful, was still downstairs in the kitchen. I thought about going down there to ask him some advice on how to begin the process, but I really wanted to start writing. I exercised self control and prevented myself from leaving my chair and my writing...for one minute. Now having been adequately caffeinated I glided down the stairs and found him sitting at the breakfast table in the corner of the kitchen looking pale and unfocused. He informed me that he’d been puking all night and that his wife, my sister, is also ill, which explained why the nephews were watching cartoons on the laptop instead of being more productive children; reading books and studying flashcards and such. My littlest nephew heard me enter through the garage door again and came to meet me with a single shoe, which he insisted belonged on his foot. I put it on and he then said the word “outside” in a reflexive tone. The shoe did fit and I considered playing out on the front lawn for a bit, but that was not my reason for coming down to the kitchen. My bro-in-law suggested a certain program for designing the card, but then said it was really difficult to use and then said he might have time to work on it, which wasn’t what I was asking him to do, but he began to think that it was something he’d have to do, and I began to think I shouldn’t have asked at all. I took a momentary pause in our conversation as a perfect opportunity to place my coffee in the microwave to heat up while he looked out in a daze across the living room full of children’s toys as if he were looking out on a peaceful morning meadow still sagging with dew. This visit to the kitchen was rather unproductive, but he did mention that I could look up some free programs to download online that might get the job done. That was it. That’s what I would do. My nephew saw me heading for the door again and gave me a look that could melt snow. I told him that I’d be back soon, OK? And he said “yeah” and then clomped away with one shoe on. I returned to my second-story loft and positioned myself for a third(?) time on my lounge to begin my morning writing. At this point, however, my morning freshness and mental stillness has already been disrupted. I’m thinking of business cards, playing with nephews, purchasing T-shirts, seminary testimonials, pictures of Zion, documentary surf films, turtles swimming in Hawaii, tall guys eating Italian food for breakfast, and how I’ll never be as interested in horses as my little sister. All this to say that I’m lacking self control. And lacking even a little bit of it can lead you places, and make you spend time doing stuff, completely unanticipated. Lacking self control is also a guaranteed way of ensuring that you do not complete that which you set out to accomplish. I am happy to announce, though, that I did end up writing this morning after all. You just read it. Have a wonderful day. 

...ramble on...

1 comment:

  1. I love this. I can relate to your struggle in so many ways.