It’s 8:15pm as I sit to write this. I’m tired after a long day of mostly sucky activities. But I just spent 30 minutes cleaning the kitchen so it would be orderly in the morning for Future Jessica.
I don’t consider cleaning the kitchen “my job.” Or anyone’s job, really. The person who is most disgusted by the kitchen is usually the one who cleans it, and that is often not me. I have a pretty high tolerance for sinks full of dishes and general disarray. Messiness is something I can easily overlook.
But most of my sucky activities are going to continue tomorrow, and I thought that a tidy kitchen might be a nice thing to come down to when I start my day. So I rallied, cleaned the kitchen, and now feel like I have at least one thing to look forward to tomorrow.
When I come downstairs to my clean kitchen, I know I’m going to appreciate the effort I put in tonight. My problems are not going to be gone. My kitchen is going to get untidy again, starting very early. In fact, by 10 a.m., it’s likely going to look exactly as it did a half hour ago. That makes it seem a little like it wasn’t worth doing. But I know from past experience that it was. I know from past experience that when I come downstairs and see an empty clean sink, a freshly scrubbed counter and a dishwasher full of clean dishes, it’s going to make me happy. Actually, very happy.
I spend easily half my day doing things for Future Jessica. I rarely want to exercise. I meditate daily, and I never want to do that. Whatever work I have to do, I’d usually rather be doing something else. I don’t want to clean out my coat closet. I don’t want to drive to Marshall’s to return that sports bra. I don’t want to sit in a salon for 90 minutes with poison-smelling hair dye singeing my scalp. I want it all done, I just don’t want to do it.
But I say to myself, "This isn't for you (I know what you really want is to just kick back and chill) -- this is to make Future Jessica feel good."
After a day like today, what I’d typically want to do is eat a plate of nachos that’s as big as my torso and then belch my way up to bed.
But I’ve become really enamored of how delighted Future Jessica can be when I offer these small gestures – knowing that tomorrow (next week, in a month, after the Challenge) she will really appreciate the relatively small sacrifices I made on her behalf. It makes it easier to do it over and over again.
As most people, I’ve spent much of my life doing drudge-y things that were decidedly not fabulous. I’m not sure why, but declaring my intentions to make life a little better for Future Jessica makes those choices much, much easier.
Maybe for you, too?
My Big, Fat Whole Life Challenge Blog Post