I stepped in my cat’s throw up yesterday. Twice. Okay okay, it was three times. The first was in the middle of the night when I was crawling back into bed after a 3 AM pee. I suspected the wet gooyiness on the soles of my feet was Dotty’s regurgitated dinner, but I was too tired to investigate or care.
When my alarm went off a few hours later, I slid out of bed and landed smack dab in the center of the chunks she had conveniently blown right beside my bed. There’s nothing like waking to cat barf between the toes. This time I was alert and should have cleaned it up right then and there. But I didn’t. I let it sit and figured I’d deal with it later.
Sadly, this has become a mantra I often live by.
Before I found shoes, my feet found the pile once more and I could only laugh as I wiped the vomit off my feet because really- who steps in the same pile of puke three times in one morning? Answer- the kind of person who still doesn’t clean it up (kind of hoping the dog will find it and eat it) and steps in it a fourth time when she gets home from work. That’s right. Four times. I lied earlier when I said it was only three.
One of my very first pictures on Instagram
I do this all the time. Not the lying thing or the stepping in cat puke thing, the procrastinating thing. The “I’ll deal with it later” later thing. When there is no hard deadline and no one holding me accountable, I will put things off for a ridiculous amount of time. We’re talking RIDICULOUS amounts of time.
I’ve sent birthday gifts 6 months after the fact.
I returned an e-mail 8 MONTHS after I received it.
I once called a girl and thanked her for driving me to the airport a year after the drive. A solid year.
I got a tooth pulled 3 years ago and have been planning on replacing it ever since.
I still have a baby present under my bed that I bought for my friend’s kid who is now in kindergarten.
I got this my first year teaching and have been planning on using it ever since. I’m not one to pass up a “bountiful dessert,” but I just keep forgetting to use it, so it has stayed tucked away in my wallet for the last 10 years. Ten years, you guys. That’s what no expiration date will do to a procrastinator like myself.
The strange part is the things I’ve been meaning to do aren’t usually unpleasant tasks like “get a fake tooth grafted in” or “clean up the cat vomit.” In fact, more often than not they are things like send so-n-so the gift you bought her because it reminded you of her, return that e-mail to a friend, write that thank-you note, return that text, make that phone call, buy that birthday card, set up a date with that friend, etc.
The thing is, I’m full of good intentions but my follow-through is terrible. The reasons are many.
Time is short.
I’m not in the mood.
I completely forget.
And those episodes of Nashville aren’t going to watch themselves.
Regardless of the excuse, I miss out on so many opportunities to encourage and bless others because of my deal-with-it-later philosophy.
My cousin Jamie challenged me to come up with a word for 2014. Lots of people have done this and written about it, but I never had reason to jump on the bandwagon and come up with my own word. Until now.
My word for 2014 is INTENTIONAL. As a girl notorious for her good intentions, this word was long overdue. Nearly every day this month I have done one thing that I’ve been meaning to do or one thing I didn’t necessarily feel like doing in that moment. My first instinct was to put it off until later, but then I remembered my desire to be intentional, to be purposeful with my day, so I saddled up and did it.
I wrote that e-mail I’ve been meaning to write.
I initiated that conversation I’ve been meaning to have.
I mailed that letter of recommendation I’ve been meaning to mail.
I lent out that book I’ve been meaning to lend.
I got my oil changed. I went out with the friend I haven’t seen in months. I sent the note. I made the call. I returned the text.
Little things that I had been intending to do for a long time. Little things that should have been done days, weeks, months ago. Little things that don’t often take much time and are helping me live today on purpose.
What I realized in 2013 is that there are consequences when you don’t live each day on purpose. Sometimes those consequences involve cleaning cat puke off your feet. Four. Separate. Times. But the bigger consequence is that the days can slip by, time can be wasted, and opportunities can be missed. Opportunities to be kind. To be thoughtful. To be more like Jesus.
I don’t want to be that girl who is caught up on all her TV shows but can’t find the time to mail a birthday card. I’m sick and tired of being the girl who is always thinking, “Oh well, it’s the thought that counts.” Because when is it ever really the thought that counts? I suspect a scatter-brained, procrastinator like myself coined that phrase to let himself off the hook for his lack of follow-through. Thoughts rarely count in real life.
It’s the deed that counts. The word that counts. It’s the follow-through that really counts.
I thought about getting my Greek professor a Christmas present to show my appreciation. But I never did. I have him again this semester so, Dr. Devine, you can expect a thank-you present from me this May.
I thought about sending my World Vision girl a birthday note. But I never did. Youdalande, you can expect several notes from me this year.
I’ve thought about doing so many well-intended things, and this is the year I’m finally going to do them. One at a time. Beginning with calling up a friend and cashing in on that free dessert from Mimi’s Cafe.
How about you? Is there something you’ve been meaning to do but just keep forgetting about? What thing have you been putting off that you can do this week? If you write it down for all to see, maybe you’ll actually do it:)