Just Do It

I’ve always been a procrastinator when it comes to getting certain things done. Without going into my bad habit of putting off writing assignments (this could be a post in itself), a lot of the things I tend to push off until “later” are things I actually want done, and that I know will improve my quality of life once they are completed.

Take our upstairs bathroom, for example. It desperately needed an overhaul when we moved into our house a little more than nine years ago. The bathtub didn’t drain they way it was supposed to, resulting in our having to shower in ankle-deep water. The heater didn’t work, and the toilet was so old that we had to teach guests a “technique” for flushing it. At some point in the 1990s, the previous homeowner had installed a cheap vanity with a plastic sink that over time had become horribly stained and was impossible to clean. The porcelain finish had mostly worn off of the cast iron bathtub, which made it look dirty all the time too.

But la pièce de résistance was that fact that the mixing valve that controlled the water temperature in the shower was slowly dying. Sometimes, if we were lucky, we got hot water. Occasionally, it was kind of warm. But more often that not, the water would turn ice cold after a few minutes and stay that way.

Incredibly enough, I put up with this for more than nine years. We had the money to hire someone to renovate the bathroom, but it took me until last month to actually do it.

All week, I’ve been sitting in my office listening to contractors banging and sawing, which has motivated me to think about why I put things off.

I’ve always had issues with change. I like the things in my life to be consistent. (Besides my husband, I’m the only person I know who insists on using the same pen until it runs out of ink.) It seems irrational, but the very thought of not having a usable bathroom for a few weeks and dealing with the mess, noise, and strangers traipsing in and out of the house gave me so much anxiety that taking cold showers felt like a better alternative.

Now that the work is actually being done, I’ve been trying to focus on how great it will be to have a shiny new bathroom with working fixtures and functional plumbing, but it’s still hard. I’ve been on edge since they removed the first ugly beige tile.

Believe it or not, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that it would have been better if I’d taken care of the bathroom a lot sooner. Like ripping off a Band-Aid, the painful part would be over, not to mention that it would have saved all of us a lot of aggravation.

With that in mind, I’ve resolved to take care of a whole list of other things that need to be done as soon as I can. Our house needs to be painted. Our passports expire next month, the cats need their vaccinations, and there are still boxes of God-knows-what sitting in our basement that I’ve been meaning to go through since we moved in.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the satisfying feeling I’ll have when I’ve gotten these things done will motivate me to stop putting things off in the future, but I think that might be a long shot. In any case, wish me luck.