Between Love And Avoidance

CypressMulchI guess I’m kind of an obsessive person.  Once my train gets on a particular track, I do not derail easily.

In some ways that’s kind of a good thing.  It’s one of the reasons I can write a novel, clean out my closets, or mow my lawn.  I might not be fast, but I keep plugging away until the thing gets finished.  I think I can….I think I can….

But it can also be, um, problematic.

If I had more time and less shame I would, for example, make an excellent stalker.  When I’m in full obsession mode, I pull out all the stops and the obsession becomes my single point of focus.

The last two months I’ve been in the middle of a full obsession attack.  This one lasted longer than most because one area of obsession morphed seamlessly into the next until I came back to sanity a week or so ago.  Don’t believe me?  I’ll show you.  Following are my recent obsessions in the order in which they appeared.

1.  Selling books to buyback sites.

Hey – it takes a lot of time to look up over 3000 ISBNs, especially when you have to do them one at a time for the most part.  And that doesn’t even count packing and shipping the things.  I spent hours and hours and HOURS selling these books.  It was, literally, a second job.   Although I did pay down some debt.

which morphed into…

2.  Learning eBay so I can sell the books the buyback sites didn’t want.

I am now the proud owner of a digital postal scale and a variety of boxes.  I have also organized my product neatly into various containers.  I haven’t actually sold anything yet though, because before I started…

this obsession moved without pause into…

3.  Mulch and the spreading thereof.

Suddenly I decided that the garden desperately needed weeding and mulching (and it did), and it was getting hot (and it was), so I had to do EVERYTHING all at ONCE and I had to do it NOW NOW NOW!  I cannot express to you how obsessed I’ve been with mulch.  Seriously.  At one point I was having dreams about its purchase, transport and spreading.  I really hate mulch.  I hate gardening.

thoughts of mulch led to…

4.  SUVs

After I realized how much mulch I could carry with my sister’s SUV, I became obsessed by the thought of buying one of my own even though I can’t afford one.  I started spending a lot of time watching SUVs in parking lots, evaluating them, pricing them on-line.  In other words – I stalked them.  See?  I told you I’d be a good at it.

and then I came back into my right mind.  More or less.

Sadly, the above list basically takes us from the middle of April to the middle of June.  Obsession city.

So, what were these obsessions?  What were they really (besides slightly psychotic)?


These tasks were not avoidance simply because I performed them.  Except for the SUV insanity, everything on the list needed to be done.  No, these tasks were avoidance because I focused on them to the exclusion of all else.

And do you see anything missing from the itemized list of obsessions above?

That’s right – writing.  Somehow I managed NOT to become obsessed with writing, even though writing is my goal.  As a result, two months of my life went by and I basically got nothing done.

The tasks listed above are just distractions.  They’re just things that need doing or “something to think about”.  In my life, they aren’t important in the deepest sense of the word.  Obsessing over these kinds of things lets me complain about how busy I am, when in reality I’m just running from one thing to another to avoid doing my work.

But in the end, the work is what matters, not the amount of mulch on my flower beds.

Because I obsessed about non-important busy-ness, I spent my precious time doing a lot of things I hate just so I can say they’re done.  And I pushed aside the thing that really does bring me joy.

It is a true fact of life that these little, annoying, day-filling tasks are never done.  There’s always another one coming at you.

Tomorrow may never come.

Today is all we have.

You will always have busy tasks.  Make room for the important stuff.

For me, that means writing.

Hey!  I think I’ll go do that now.


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