It's so hard to do things I don't want to do.
Like, no shit. But like, really.
It's not hedonism. I'm decently disciplined and am pretty good with moderation. I also wouldn't call it hedonism, because sometimes it's hard for me to complete tasks I actually want to do/deem positive/are very easy. Like read a book. Or do my laundry. Or bring in my plant from my fire escape during a “Tropical Storm Warning” (I didn’t do that one).
I’ve always said to myself “Elise, stop being lazy!”
I’ll spare you the harrowing details, but my junior year of college, I was very depressed. That year I also learned the concept of “burnout.” I think you can sort of connect the dots here.
It took me a long time to admit to myself I was depressed. I didn’t want to be that person using depression as an excuse to be lazy (not saying this is all depressed people plz don’t cancel me!!!!). I’ve always been hard on myself, and I have lots of plans for myself. And whether I can or cannot execute the tasks in order for those plans to come into fruition is how I judge my self worth. It was tough to accept that sometimes, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do the thing. And that was okay! I became more forgiving and gentle with myself.
After a year of making better choices, I felt like myself again. I was out of my funk and things seemingly went back to normal.
But then I became hyperaware of the times I felt like I couldn’t do something. But this time, it wasn’t that I was depressed (which in my previous case, physically/emotionally incapable). It had a different energy about it.
I still feel this today. Sometimes I’ll feel an aversion to the task at hand. I become avoidant. It’s like procrastination, but with a sense of ~impending doom~ on the side. When I get this feeling about, say, editing my résumé, it’s like okay duh, that fucking sucks to do. But I’ll also get this feeling about writing this newsletter or editing my podcast, which I think is so so fun to do. It’s confusing. Why am I avoiding it?
Am I being………………….LAZY?????
I started to become more introspective about avoidance and take note of every time I exhibited avoidant behavior. I boiled it down to three reasons:
I’m being lazy.
I think I will have more energy to do a better job of it later (the classic perfectionism to procrastination pipeline).
It’s a genuinely annoying task that I do not want to do.
I’m afraid of the outcome.
#1– Elise, stop being lazy!
#2 and #3–too similar. I have to “wait” for the energy to do an annoying task. They both involve an element of time. How long does the task take? Why does it take X amount of time for me to muster up the courage to do the task even when it’s easy? Trying to theorize this wasn’t really working. If #2 and #3 aren’t laziness, I don’t know what they are.
Am I bored? Am I uninspired (reference above GG photo)? Seems a bit dramatic.
But #4 makes sense. It’s not the actual task, it’s what happens after. If I avoid completing this one easy thing, which miiight have an adverse outcome, why would I even go there! I avoided asking my boss for time off, because I thought he’d say no. I avoided calling my mom back, because I thought it would make me miss her more. I put off writing this newsletter, because I thought I wouldn’t be able to articulate this well. I thought it wouldn’t be good, and I am afraid of being vulnerable.
I’m not afraid of taking out my recycling, but taking trash down from a fifth floor walkup is definitely scary haaahaaa amirite.
This is about as far as my “theory” goes. I didn’t write this, because I’ve figured it out. I wrote it, because it’s been on my mind. As I said in my last letter, I think I think too much.
I’m not here to talk in platitudes and slogans like “You can do anything you put your mind to” and “Just do it!” I have no solution nor anything motivational to close this with. I just hope I could put words to something you’re maybe feeling too.
I decided to get emo for the one year of twenty three tabs. But something different from what I wrote for New Year’s Eve. I know this is a lot different from what my newsletter started as, but I hope you’re enjoying it? But don’t worry, I’ll do my old format sometimes too :)
Thanks for reading my newsletter (my baby! my heart!) for A WHOLE YEAR. I’m so glad to have met you all along the way. Thanks for all the support. Love you guys!!!
Okay here are the fun links now: