Put the Bread down at the Other End of the Toaster

Why? Because it’s different, it’s a change. I have a four slice toaster, yet, habitually I will always put a single slice of bread in the slot farthest to the left. Why not mix it up? Why not put the bread all the way over to the farthest slot to the right? Why not second over from the left? Because we’re creatures of habit and we keep doing the same things because we’re comfortable with them, whether or not those habits are good for us or not. But sometimes we have to face that maybe some of our bad habits are holding us back from discovering who we can yet be.

A bad habit of mine is procrastination. If there is a task I really need to do, but for some reason the thought of doing so causes me teeth-grinding anguish, I will find a million reasons not to do it. The sticky note I wrote to remind myself is buried at the end of my desk. It just keeps being moved around, or gets other papers placed on top of it. Since the task hasn’t yet been accomplished, it frequently finds its way onto my ‘To Do’ list, but it never gets checked off as done. Pretty soon the task gets swept away with the junk mail that I just shredded. Out of sight, out of mind, right? That was easy. Once again I let something that really needed to be done stay undone, even as I tell myself, “I’ll do it, I will – someday.”

Guess what? I’m exactly where I was yesterday, because there are only seven days in the week and someday isn’t one of them.

Change is hard! But change must happen if we want something new or different in our lives. Now that we are living with a pandemic and almost everything we use to know as normal has changed, we’ve been forced into changes that we didn’t ask for. Some of these changes have uprooted not only our social norms, it has changed the dynamics of our day to day lives. Our children are now attending school from home in their PJs, some of us have been forced to do the same to keep our jobs, or have lost them all together. Going to the grocery store feels like I’m entering into a bio-hazard waste zone, donning a mask, ball cap, glasses, and a bottle of hand sanitizer at the ready. Then there are those people who have no respect for another’s personal space, and I have a burning desire to play the song on my phone; “Don’t stand, don’t stand, don’t stand so close to me!”  Since I’m not sure that’d go over well, so far I’ve restrained myself.

When this pandemic passes, and it will, there will be all sorts of new opportunities and businesses that will spring up in the aftermath. Those who are prepared in advance for the coming wave of new growth will be like the early bird that gets the worm. Things may not be just the same as they were before. Knowing how and being prepared to most benefit from the changes that are coming will help us to be like that first Robin in spring. But we have to be willing to embrace a change, the different and the new, and stop hoping that (whatever we’re reaching for) will just happen on its own, because it won’t. Instead, we have to make it happen. It just takes a choice to act.

When my husband and I decided to sell the home we had lived in for over 30 years and move across the state to start over in new city, with us both in our sixties, it was a huge change! But it was a wonderful and much needed change, and as hard as all of it was, we did it because we wanted this new home and this new life bad enough that we did all the things required to make it happen.

Anyone who has ever sold or bought a home knows there is a ton of stuff to do, both physically to the structure of the homes, but also the crazy amount of paperwork, the phone calls to bankers and real estate agents, and the endless packing. Now imagine doing all of that in only 60 days. We put our house on the market, closed on both the sale of our old home and the purchase of our new one and moved across the state, all in less than 2 months. It was a whirlwind of activity, rewriting my to-do lists on a daily basis, packing a lifetime of memories, and dealing with an extreme high level of stress.

So the question I had to ask myself is: Do I not want to be a successful published author as much as I wanted my new home?

Don’t get me wrong. I know that writing and rewriting my books multiple times, building an author’s platform and brand, creating a social media presence, launching my blog in hopes of establishing a following, not to mention creating a great story, certainly hasn’t been any easier than buying and selling a house. And just like the desire to have that new home, my desire for this new writing career has kept me moving forward one step at a time, though I do sometimes still find myself attending the Dance Hall of Procrastination.

If there is something new and different in our lives that we’ve always dreamed of doing, but for one reason or another, we’ve put it off, maybe now is a good time to face the reason(s) we’re doing that procrastination dance. Maybe right now is a good time for that dream to be worked into our reality. In the six decades that I have walked this planet, I’ve reinvented what my career looks like multiple times, and each metamorphosis was scary but necessary. Some were more challenging than others, but I did so because I wanted a change. I needed a change.

So instead of letting fear drive the bus, I think it’s time to get off at the next stop and break this habit of procrastination. I think this morning I’ll put the bread down at the other end of the toaster. Who knows? That might be the simple change that starts a whole new habit—the habit of success. That’s a change I think I can handle.

Comments are closed.