The letter request:
My husband left me for another state and I’m not able to filter my activities, lots of late nights, boozing it up, trying to catch up with everyone, missing everyone else I’m not catching up with, worried that I’m not giving the dog enough attention now that I’m a single parent, not eating well, not sleeping well, no time to plant my tomato seedlings before they get too leggy, too much craziness in my brain due to all of the above.
You’re a popular lady but, for one already-skinny lass, you sure do spread yourself thin. With some simple reprogramming we’re confident you’ll get your life back on track.
First, some home truths…
From outside looking in we can see that your challenges are unique.
a. You’re abnormally lovely so most people who cross your path want to spend time with you. This is a good thing.
b. You’re a bit of a ‘yes man’ – you love being in amongst it all so you stumble across a LOT of things you’d like to do and sometimes you even say yes to things you don’t particularly want to do.
c. Your love has no borders. You’ve moved around a bit so you have friends flung far and wide. You have to fly north for some quality time with your besties; far, far north-west to kiss your husband; drive an hour or two to see your folks; even the dog park is a car ride away. All of this commuting drains time and energy.
d. You can’t do everything. It’s just not humanly possible. But being more organised means you can do more of what you enjoy and kiss the rest goodbye sans regrette. Read on to find out how…
Reprogramming your inner robot:
a. When someone asks, ‘Hey, whatcha up to next Tuesday?’ we’re guessing your automatic response is something like, ‘Nothing, why?’ This type of answer is often the automatic response of an open, enthusiastic joiner-inner such as yourself but we’re sorry to say that it is wrong. Firstly, it gives a false sense of eternal availability and secondly, it makes it difficult to extricate yourself from the sub-standard social invitation that may follow, for example: ‘My little brother’s death metal band – Vomit Guts – is playing out at the RSL in Burwood and I feel like I should go. Can you come with?’
Solution: we don’t want to encourage cagey behaviour but maybe you could try being a bit more circumspect in your initial response. Try riffing on this: ‘I think I have something on, why, what’s up?’ Make vagueness your coat of armour. It will bide you time. And taking your time allows you to…
b. Be realistic. Do you have time to do something next Tuesday? Do you have a busy week ahead? Will you feel like going out after work? If you go out straight from work who will feed the dog? Do you even like this person? Is there something you’d actually prefer to do? It may sound boring but it’s better to think through these things now rather than committing to something and then stressing about them later.
c. Be discretionary. As we mentioned you’re lovely – most people will want more Honey. Make sure you only say yes to things you REALLY want to do and only hang with people that you SUPER want to hang with. Upgrade that to SUPER DOOPER if you’re having a particularly busy week and feeling overwhelmed.
d. Write everything down. Keeping an up-to-date diary helps to keep your week under control. Don’t only diarise outings and social occasions, note down the more mundane stuff you’d like to have time for: nights at home, DVD watching, gardening, time with the dog, bread baking, interstate phone calls, lazy-see-what-happens days. If your week is starting to look crazy on paper then deem that week ‘full’ and don’t take on anything else.
e. Clean up after yourself. Who would have thought it? Parents were right! If you clean up as you go it saves time. Do the washing up as you cook, put away books and papers as soon as you’ve finished with them. Little things add up and reduce the amount of time you have to waste on a big clean.
f. Take the lead. At the moment you’re a little beach ball bobbing up and down on the turbulent tides of social seas. Sure, it’s fun going from party to party but it can also be exhausting. Climb up into the lifeguard’s chair. If you plan the event you can:
i. Make sure it’s geographically suited to you so you’re not rushing from a picnic in Laverton to a dinner in Mordiallac to a nightcap in Fairfield.
ii. Consolidate and conquer. Invite a whole bunch of friends to the one event rather than visiting each friend one by one over a longer period of time.
iii. Make it dog friendly (to fulfil your parental duties).
iv. Choose the start and finish times (give yourself space for anything else you want to do that day.)
g. Reprogram your friends. Being easygoing is your shtick. You fly by the seat of your pants and people have come to expect this of you. The new Honey is less obliging and everyone will need to get used to this. It’s not necessarily that you won’t say yes when they invite you out for last minute drinks. It’s more that you won’t say yes every time. Or maybe you’ll make them wait for the answer while you consult your diary. Or tell them you’ll meet them but only on your side of town.
h. Go for quality over quantity. Instead of meeting a friend for a super-quick breaky on the fly, put off the catch up until you have time to spend a few hours together. Quick catch ups rarely satisfy as a friendship fix.
i. Put your feet up. Nana’s do this to avoid swollen ankles but that’s not all a little foot elevation does. Try it. It’s almost impossible to feel rushed when your feet aren’t touching the floor. When you’re feeling particularly busy take some time out to sit with your feet on a chair.
So you see, with just a few minor lifestyle adjustments you can become a super healthy, productive, sober, well-rested, prize-winning dog parental with appreciative friends and really awesome tomato plants. And that’s not a euphemism.
We know you can do it, let us know how it goes.
Clothing for Correspondence x
P.S. You may have noticed by now that we forgot to include the aggressive tone to this letter, as requested by you. So our suggestion is to read it again only, this time, imagine the word ‘bitchface’ at the end of each sentence.