Yesterday, one of my class attendees was lethargic and pissy- not his normal character. When he first arrived in class we had the usual perfunctory greetings: “How are you?” “I’m getting a cold,” he said. That was my first indication that he wouldn’t be the “best” participant in class. At lunch he and I were together in the classroom while the others were checking phone messages, making calls, finding out what had happened in their work world for the last :90.
“I have a bad tooth. It’s painful.” I said, “Why haven’t you gone to the dentist?” “I’ve been putting it off because I can’t afford it. I have two lost fillings and I know it’s going to cost me $100s to get them fixed.”
What have you been putting off because of some excuse? Getting your car’s 60k, 75k check-up? Going for your annual check-up? Picking up the phone to ask someone for help? Picking up the phone to connect with an old friend or family member? Going to the dentist? When we put off our routine obligations to ourselves then we may cause more of an expense than if we did it now. That expense may not just be monetary: friendship, client, hurt feelings, joy, success. What are we scared of? Why do we wait and wait, and then it may be too late?
When the “service required” sign lights up in my car, I put off going directly to the mechanic thinking, I don’t want to take the time right now, nor have the expense, especially if he finds something wrong. But if I put it off until something does go wrong, then I have double the expense. Did this ever happen to you? Did you wait – put off – going to get something fixed and during that time it just got worse; therefore, twice the time to get it fixed and twice or three-times the cost? I learned.
Every six months I get my car serviced and find out that she’s in good shape. The last time I got an oil change the mechanic told me I needed new front brakes. Fine! But I knew that my safety and the safety of others depend on good brakes. I put it off for a month and finally took her in for new brakes. Naturally, the brake shop recommended that I add something to do something for some reason and that cost me an extra $50. But, now it’s done and I’m happy. My dentist has stopped calling me to come in for my six-month check-up. Now, I’m destined to go in for a cleaning and maybe something else if I don’t go in now! Okay, I’ll call today. The same for my annual check-up. Fall seems to be the time to get “spit polished” and cleaned before the end of the year.
I know I need to call a friend, to check up on her. I’ve been putting it off for months. I just don’t seem to make the time. How long will it take me to dial 11 numbers and connect? Minutes. Minutes to hear her voice, let her know I’m thinking of her, and concerned about her health, and to care. But…. That “but” comes through too often.
Back to my class participant. He also said he’s been putting off buying a winter coat. I couldn’t really get the reason for not owning a good, warm coat and living in Colorado. It doesn’t make sense to me. He said he’s lived without one for years, but because he’s been getting sick several times he finally made the commitment to buy a coat – this weekend. Hurrah! What’s the push to get you to do instead of put off? I know I can make multiple excuses for not doing chores, mundane personal or mechanical check-ups, getting something done, or postpone the inevitable. And you?
Make a pact with yourself to get done today one, maybe two, items on your “putting off” list. Once they’re done, it’s such a relief, and we all want and need relief in our day. I’m picking up the phone to make my doctor’s and dentist’s appointments. What are you going to do?
Here’s to you and those checked-off-my-list projects or items.