A few months ago I got a letter from my dentist. You know, one of those reminders that your check up is due. Fine, except for the fact this was the third reminder. My checkup was over due. Waaaaay overdue. I mean, the letter was typed up in the same tone my mum used to put on when I was a kid and still hadn’t bothered to tidy my room. You know, “I don’t want to have to tell you again!” or “If you don’t do it, I’m going in there with a black bag!” (That one usually did the trick). It wasn’t that I’d willfully ignored the first two letters, I’d just dropped them on the kitchen table with all my other “you need to deal with this at some point but not today” letters. I’m not afraid of the dentist – that wasn’t the issue – I had every intention of calling up and booking an appointment, I just kept forgetting to actually do it, or brushing it off saying, “Meh, I’ll do it tomorrow”.
Did I do it? Pfft. Course I didn’t. The letter got buried deeper and deeper under my pile of letters and takeaway menus until I’d completely forgotten it even existed. And the dentist? Well, they gave up nagging.
And then one morning I decided to make French Toast for breakfast, and as I sunk my teeth into that soft, sugary slice I felt tooth pain unlike any I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. It was sharp, it was sudden and slow to go away. I went white. I had to lie down. I cried. Something was definitely up.
I booked in an emergency appointment and after a couple of weeks of careful chewing followed by horrible pain, I found out that I had a gaping hole in one of my wisdom teeth. Yeouch. And, as I lay back in the chair and endured the drill, there was only one thought rattling around in my head; WHY DIDN’T I BOOK THAT BLOODY CHECKUP? I should have done it the minute after I ripped open that first letter. Why didn’t I?
It’s not just dentist appointments; my everyday life is littered with these little moments of shrugging simple tasks off, kicking the can down the road to deal with later. I put things off until I HAVE to deal with them. I wait until the washing basket is overflowing with knickers until I put on a load. I’ll tell myself that I’ll email back so and so or phone up to book something tomorrow, or next week. Smear Tests (*wrist slap*), changing over ISAs, painting the skirting boards, updating personal details, registering with a new doctor, cleaning the oven (oh God no). You know, all those “adult jobs”. Why kick the can along? You’re basically just sabotaging your future self. I mean, the can is still going to be there at the end of the road – you’re still going to have to deal with it by being a responsible adult and picking it up and putting it in the bin. But by that time, the situation might have completely changed. The oven is going to be much, much harder to clean. You could have earned much more interest in that time if you’d pulled your finger out and switched ISAs. You might have a gaping hole in your wisdom tooth. Worse, the tooth might have to come out.
I’m convinced that the secret to successful adulting is dealing with things straight away, or at least organising a time to deal with them and then actually following through. Super-adulting is pre-empting them. You know, putting the washing on when the basket’s only half full or writing a reminder in your diary before that check up letter ever lands on your doormat. You’re making your life easier, that’s it.
Oh, I booked in my next check up straight after the dentist filled the hole, by the way. January 2019, I’m in!