2021 Grateful 19: The best of intentions

I’m a great one for starting things on a Monday. Somewhere, buried amongst the myriad rules I’ve accumulated thus far in my life is one that says that everything new should begin on a Monday. Except moving into a new house – the first sleep should always be on a Friday.

It doesn’t much matter that these rules are of my own making, acquired through superstition or folly. They’ve been living in my brain for so long, they have squatters’ rights. When by Wednesday, I haven’t stuck to my plan, I stop and schedule a restart for the following Monday.

For those of you familiar with Belbin’s nine team roles, I’m a completer/finisher. I’m good with discrete projects – stuff that has to be done by a given date where I can spend chunks of time on it and move it forward.

But spending five minutes every day on exercises that promise to put a stop to the semaphoric actions of my underarms, that’s proving impossible. Five minutes! I can’t give five minutes each day religiously to this one thing? How mad is that? Yes, I want to have arms that don’t move of their own accord. Yes, I want to be able to lean my elbow against the window of a moving bus and not fan myself in the process. But I obviously don’t want it badly enough to put in five minutes a day to make it happen. [Whether it will make a difference is neither here nor there.]

Charities use this tactic in their fundraising and I’ve never been able to buy into it. I’ve called a few times to give a once-off donation to be told that someone will call me back and when they do, they want me to sign up for a recurring donation. Just €2 a week can help do X or €1 a day will help do Y. I prefer discrete donations – one substantial payment.  Over. Done.

I struck a deal with myself at the beginning of the summer. I’d structure my mornings. I’d write out a timetable of those things I should be doing each day. And then I’d have my afternoons free to do whatever came along. It lasted one day – one Monday.

I work pro bono on a website that requires prayer submissions to be marked public or private depending on what the subscriber wants. Were I being paid to do this, I’d do it every morning. No question. But because I’m not being paid, I try to do it every morning and manage say 5/7. Likewise with this grateful series. When I started all those years ago, I’d post every Sunday. Then I started to slip and would have to catch up with myself. Now I’m at the stage where I might write 5 in one week to get current. Ergo, being paid to do something comes with the responsibility to do it.

I’m useless with medication. Take one each day at the same time before you eat – it sounds easy. But I don’t eat at the same time every day. I’ve tried to but I only lasted a couple of weeks. I’m equally bad with my morning 5k. I might get 3 mornings in a row before I default. In fact, on reflection, just about the only thing I do religiously is submitting my monthly accounts to my accountant.

They say that if you want something badly enough, you’ll do what it takes to get it. I’m grateful that one of the lasting lessons my mother taught me at a very early age is to recognise the difference between need and want. I might want to be more organised, more disciplined, more regulated, but I don’t need to be. One of these days it’ll all come together.



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