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Always Choosing Action (Except When Hamsters Are Involved)

A couple months ago, I came up with a little mantra of sorts.

When presented with the choices of action or inaction, always choose action.

This phrase came into play during one of my stints of temporary unemployment.  As anyone who’s ever been without work for a time can tell you, it’s easy to find yourself without a forward trajectory; it starts with sleeping in entirely too late, and ends when you realize that you’re able to list Bravo’s Tuesday lineup starting at 9am.  I found myself spending all day doing a million little things, none with any great purpose or meaning, and when Kyle came home at night and asked me what I did today, I found that it didn’t really seem like much.  “Oh, you know, stuff,” became my standard answer.

So in order to try and break myself out of this rut, I started taking walks everyday.  Little jaunts through town (as seen here) that got me out of the house, into the sunshine, exercising a little, and thinking about something besides Real Housewives of New Jersey.  Of course, as the days got hotter and the walks lost some of their sense of adventure, the Lazy crept back in with its good friend Excuses, and it became harder to make myself put on shoes and walk downtown.

Enter the mantra.

And it worked.  As part of my new mindset, I was choosing action, which meant going on that walk even though it was a billion degrees outside.  And oddly enough, I found my new mantra coming into play in a lot of other expected and unexpected ways.  Decisions like:

*Whether to take the long way home from my walk of whether to take the shortcut home.

*Whether to clean up the kitchen right after dinner or continue sitting on my ass and watching the Daily Show.

*Whether I should try making apple butter because we have a million apples leftover from apple picking, even though there’s only the two of us and I don’t know how to can.

*Whether I can pull off flats with my leggings and mini dress because my gray boots finally fell apart completely.

*Whether I should wait to make the work phone call that I’m totally dreading because I’m pretty sure this guy is going to yell at me, but really needs to happen sooner rather than later.

*Whether I should get out of bed and make banana pancakes or stay in my awesomely warm bed and snooze for another hour.

And surprisingly, this simple mantra has been enough for even my willpower.  I find myself more and more do that thing that I always say that I “should” do but don’t.  Of course, it doesn’t work all the time, and even if it does, I’ve found that there are decisions to be made in which my mantra should not be applied.  Decisions like:

*Whether the cuteness of the hamster would be enough to outweigh how amazingly pissed Kyle would be for bringing it home.

*Whether I can eat a whole block of cheese in an afternoon.

*Whether I need another totally adorable jersey sundress.

*Whether it would be funny to anyone but me if I dropped a cat on Kyle while he’s asleep.

*Whether I should go to the bar wearing one of Kyle’s old hockey jerseys and leggings.

*Whether I should explain to the jackass who just spilled beer on my purse my theories about his heritage, and what his future might hold if he comes within 5 feet of me again.

So it’s not exactly airtight.  A little common sense should be exercised.  But so far life in action is pretty fun.

(But oddly devoid of capes.)

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Charm City Kim September 15, 2010, 10:31 am

    For the record, I would also find it funny if you dropped a cat on Kyle was he was asleep.

    The cat was not a fan of the idea, but then, my cats don’t really have a great sense of humor.

  • gem September 15, 2010, 11:30 am

    I would also find it funny to drop the cat on Kyle.

    I also think you should definitely action into a cape ASAP.

    I also think that I should adopt this mantra, but know that since I haven’t yet, there’s very little chance that I will. Especially since my current mantra is “meh, let’s pust that until tomorrow.”

  • Kate (and Ben) September 16, 2010, 8:21 am

    I noticed something very similar in my stint of unemployment over the summer; it got to be just too easy to not really accomplish anything–so I started purging our house of things we didn’t use/need, one room at a time; similar to your (new?) mantra. And it works, and being productive feels nice.
    Also, a cape is always a great idea.

  • patience September 19, 2010, 6:31 pm

    ahahaha. i love your blog. good stuff.

    movement…action…transformation…making it happen.

    that IS where it is at.

    and um…i can totally relate to this; “find yourself without a forward trajectory” ~ um yeah! i hear that man, i mean i know i have to get a job someday, i can’t be lounging princess house wife forever, i mean…i don’t want that on my death bed. i want to have done a lot more. it is just figuring out how…to make it happen. it’s a work in progress.


  • Josh September 19, 2010, 8:21 pm

    Drop the cat on him! Action… yah, action is totally better!

  • ching September 20, 2010, 6:34 am

    i really like this post. i’ll be incorporating this now. it’s because i am a recent graduate and currently unemployed. 🙂
    i read a lot of books, i know i may not be physically moving but my brain is.

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