Laundry, Class and the Dark Side of “As Soon As”
Sunday morning and ‘m in a hotel lobby trying to write but really stressing out about all the things I have to do in the next 10 days, like move and find a job. The universe is supporting me in this. I look out the window, I have a view of Mount Diablo Yes, I am literally seeing the mountains in front of me. Perfect, I pull out my camera so I will have a photo for this week’s blog post. Funny thing, by the time I got the camera ready, the mountain was gone? Yes, I was looking at clouds, no mountains. Have I created a mythical mountain of stress? Am I being clouded?
On this day and in this moment, I need to wash clothes, write a blog post and complete a data course. I can do all these things today, but I let “as soon as” creep in. Like, maybe I will stop blogging for a while and pick it back up as soon as I have a job. Or, maybe I’ll wait two weeks to finish that course when I’m moved and settled. Laundry, well, I’ll do that as soon as a washer available in the hotel laundry room. It’s a familiar formula.
As soon as <something happens> , I can do <fill in the blank>
“As soon as” has a dark side. While disguised as a goal, it hides procrastination and fantasy. It is a decision you don’t want to make, a position you don’t want to take, a risk you that makes you afraid. Procrastination is fear of something and “as soon as” is a clever disguise.
“As soon as” is a fantasy. I am going to Paris as soon as I have enough money. “as soon as” fantasies vanish if you ask yourself, what plans do I have in place for this? If there is no plan, it’s a fantasy. Between procrastination and fantasy “as soon as” continues is that mountain that does not exist. I am facing my fear about the data course, I don’t want to fail. So, lets save this blog draft and I’m off to do laundry and complete a data course.
Eight hours later, laundry finished, course completed, (93 out of 100 on the test) blog post in progress and lesson learned. It is bad being around people who don’t keep their promises and commitments to you. You stop depending on them, you start to distrust what they say. You may even start to feel bad, why does this person seem to jump and do for everyone else, except for me?” Well, those “as soon as,” the ones that are either procrastination or fantasy, you are breaking promises to yourself. If you tell a 6 year-old, we’re gong to Disneyland; there is excitement. Three months later the child asks, when are we going and you look up dumbfounded, because you forgot you said it, and there is moment you see that look of confusion turn into heartbreak for the kid. That’s what you are doing to your self with your “as soon as” fantasies. It’s that subtle difference between when you say, “I am dreaming of” versus the words like “as soon as” which implies there is a plan. Getting those three things done today, it feels like my inner child is going to Disneyland.
That mountain of stress I created was part of my soul bracing for broken promises. This week, I’m going to notice when I say as soon as. If it is a really a fantasy, I’ll say, I’m dreaming of. If it is procrastination, I’ll acknowledge the fear and push forward. If it is just a matter of timing, I’ll say, I’ll wash my clothes when the next washer is available.