As I type this very post, I’m supposed to be running a 10k.
All day yesterday, I kept an eye on the weather. The 10k is in Indianapolis and right before bed last night the weather was calling for rain, thunderstorms, 45° and 15 mph wind at start time. Considering the race is about an hour drive from our house, we made the executive decision to skip it.
Of course, I wake up this morning, the rain is gone, it is overcast, 55° and barely any wind. Perfect running weather. Whatcha gonna do?
If I’m being totally honest, the weather was just the straw that broke the camel’s back when it came to making the decision to flake. I’ve been having feet and knee pain. I have a lot of freelance to work on. My mind is running a million miles a minute.
I have a hard time not feeling guilty when I remove myself from a commitment. Even when it is for the best (which, regardless of the weather, I feel like our decision today is), it feels like I’m letting the universe down.
A lot of this comes from my upbringing. One of the great things about becoming an adult and your own person is that you can choose to disagree with what your parents believe. My parents taught me that if you commit to something, you do it. Regardless of how painful or uncomfortable it makes you.
Sure, I think that is true for a lot of cases. But I also think that is too black-and-white. While I do believe following through is an important trait in what makes up a well-rounded and moral person, I also believe as a society, we focus a little too much on the follow through, and not enough on ourselves.
Cancel something. Decide not to go last-minute. Think about what you really want. Be selfish. All things that can be negatively attributed to a flaky person. But I actually think we should be more flaky. At least I should.
Of course, part of this would be solved with thinking through commitments before solidifying them. My default setting tends to be, “Yes! I can do that.” What horror it would be to say, “No.” and disappoint someone! I’m learning that it is okay to say, “Let me think about it.” or “I’ll get back to you.” And also that, while people may react negatively at first to, “No.” they tend to recover pretty quickly.
But unfortunately, even the most thought through commitments can hit road blocks. When I signed up for this race in December, I had no idea I would be overwhelmed at work, taking on a lot of freelance work and the weather would be questionable. A lot of people like to define “unforeseen circumstances” as something that they had no control over. But people neglect to realize that you can’t foresee what your stress level will be or your mood. If you tell someone you don’t want to go to their party because you just “don’t feel like it,” that is not considered a good enough reason.
Really? Isn’t that the best reason of all? I think it is.
So I challenge you to think about all the things you are committed to this week. Meetings, projects, 10ks. And decide if they are things you really want to do. Of course, I’m not naive enough to believe that you can skip through life avoiding everything that isn’t fun. But I’m sure there are one or two things out there that you can cut out without the world crumbling around you.
And maybe if you do, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to notice that the grass is suddenly green. Just like I did this morning.