I’ve said before people think I am much, much healthier than I really am. Can an obsessively healthy person put down a pint of cookies and cream Jubilee before noon? Someone is a little off in their assessment here.
Never have I ever had a cigarette, studied for a test on Adderall, or taken any other substance beyond caffeine and alcohol (ok fine—I smoked weed a few times and was such a weirdo I never tried the stuff again). But if I’m having a bad day, I will take a spoon in one hand and a pint of ice cream (or peanut butter) in the other, and go to town. That’s my version of taking a hit.
So here’s a shocking revelation for you: Eating a pint of ice cream in one sitting doesn’t make you feel all that great about yourself. It makes you feel pretty shitty, to give you the complete and honest truth.
I’m sure everyone who has actually succeeded in keeping their New Year’s resolutions is just loving this post.
So after making sweet, sweet love to a container of soft serve, I called my friend Casey and vented. Hard. Because I knew my dessert of a breakfast—as delicious as it was—was really a wall I put up between myself, and all the crap I was avoiding.
Casey is one of my college teammates and former team captain. Although I always had the upmost respect for her, we (ironically) didn’t become close until we took home our diplomas. While I’m here in Washington and she’s finishing her graduate degree in Des Moines, we call each other when we need a solid rampage of freaking the F out.
She let me rant for forty minutes. “I’m stressed about work. And rent. And working enough to make rent. And wanting to freelance. And wanting to work on my own blog. And instead of just putting one foot in front of the other, I’m just allowing myself to cave under all the things that are making me freak out.” In response to my epic rant, she gave me two pieces of very solid, and very welcomed advice:
- Step one: Stop worrying about everyone else.
“You have to ask yourself—what do you want for yourself? Your story is never going to be the same as everyone else’s, so stop trying to write it.”
- Step two: Go back to the basics.
“When I’m on, I’m on—I go ninety miles an hour, I’m in-shape, and I’m productive. When I’m off, I’m really off. You need to return to the basics and ask yourself what you need to feel good about yourself—even things like brushing your teeth twice a day and applying lotion. I know it sounds stupid, but these are the little things we do to feel good!”
“I feel like I need to go home, and map out everything I need to do to get back on track,” I told her.
“I would!! Map out one week, and write down everything you need to do each day to get through the week. Actually, write down everything you need to do to get through the hour.”
I once wrote that you cannot run a marathon if you can’t run a 5k. Well, you also can’t have a good day if you can’t get through a good afternoon. I can’t control—let alone conquer—all the stress and to-do’s soon to hit me this week. I can only manage what is on my plate right now, so I have the bandwidth to tackle what’s to come.
Small steps matter. You can’t write a novel if you don’t write one page today. You can’t clean your entire apartment if you can’t even empty the dishwasher. I can’t freelance part-time if I don’t write one article.
“Good days matter,” Casey told me. “Because if you take one day at a time, soon those days add up and you’re left with a good week. And in no time, those good weeks add up, and in one month you’ll be far ahead of where you are today.”
And that empty carton of ice cream.