October 11, 2011
Today’s Special: Bacon Double Cheeseburger with fries, and either a shake or a trip to the salad bar.
The special looked yummy all day long. I have a bad habit I need to change of not bothering to eat before work. By four o’clock every day I’m hungry. By five I’m so hungry I can’t even think about eating anymore. Today I asked Rick what I should have. By this point nothing sounded good even though it all is good, and it all seemed complicated even though it’s really not all that complicated. But I just wanted someone else to figure it out.
He said, “Get the special.”
So I did. I went for the protein, only I requested (and got, and no, this is not an option to anyone else, the special is the special, please don’t try to mess with it) a Bacon Single Cheeseburger, light on the bacon, no fries, no shake, no salad bar trip. Then I drank a bunch of iced tea and a little coffee, and then I went back to my list, feeling better.
It’s October I guess even though two of my three calendars say September. But September is gone. I don’t know how. Just a couple of days ago it was Labor Day and we walked the bridge. A second ago it was Jenna’s birthday. Columbus Day weekend hasn’t even happened yet, Laura and Becky haven’t worked their last shifts until next summer. But the weekend is over, they’re gone for the year, and the days race by.
Every day I make a list. Every day it looks more or less the same. Most days—well, all days—I don’t get everything done. It seems funny to me that I have to write the things down I do every day but I do. The list makes me feel less scattered. Happier. Also I forget the most amazing things if they’re not written down. Obvious, important things. Sometimes I put very easy things I’ve already done down and cross them out. Cheating! But satisfying. Some days—like today—I don’t know where to start. That’s generally when I start talking to myself. Out loud, yes. If I’m desperately tired, I also answer. Not denying it.
“Just start anywhere, I told myself today. “It doesn’t matter where. Do the easiest thing first.” So I did. I restocked the mugs and the books and brought the sun tea in off the deck, then crossed those three things off and felt much, much better. “We’re really cooking now,” is how I felt.
If I’m really exhausted I become very kind to myself. Very patient, calm and yet sort of boosterish at the same time. Very supportive. I’ll say, “I know you’re doing your best. That’s all you can do. Just do the first thing first. Can you put some flour in the bowl? Yes? Good! That’s really good. You did it. Okay. Now. A little sugar. Yep. And salt, don’t forget the dash of salt. See, we’re doing it, we’re making pie dough.”
Maribeth overhead me doing this one day many years ago, and she said, “That’s really good! We learned about that in one of my communication classes at Tech. It’s called Positive Self Talk. It’s a good thing to do for yourself. People don’t realize how helpful is, but it’s proven to increase your productivity and improve your mood.”
“Huh,” I said.
I remember feeling sort of clever and not clever at the same time, because while I did figure this out on my own, how to talk nicely to myself, as if I was my own best friend, it took me years and years and years. Quite a few more years than it probably should have.
Today the list said:
Salad bar up
Salad bar down
Put Sysco truck away
Didn’t get it all done, but did a lot. Lucky for me, Terri was working. She did all the dishes as well as waiting tables, or I’d never gotten anything crossed off. Didn’t get that underlined thing done again, paperwork. Uh oh. Gotta go.