The sun reflects off the shiny leaves of the escalonia highlight the bumble bees seemingly randomly drifting between the plant’s red flowers. The sun also falls across the table covered with photographs and the beige carpeted floor. The dog is making the most of the heat produced by lying in a patch the covers his middle. Another patch of sunlight falls on my right leg and the heat this produces feels good on my skin. If I close my eyes I can send me mind into that heat seeking some solace from anxiety, a balm to lose myself in.
Like many autistic people I tend to overthink things. These leads to inaction which in my case often leads to mild depression. Sometimes I have to strength to shout in my mind, “JUST DO IT” and keeping repeating until I manage to do some task. It seemed to be the right thing to do this morning when for the umpteenth time I was irritated by the moustache hair curling from my top into the bottom lip. I vaguely thought about trimming the moustache but normally this occurs when I don’t have access to my favoured scissors so the thought gets shifted out of total awareness to the irritated but back of the mind zone. Eventually the thought drifts so far it is only retrieved when I noticed the hair on wrong lip again. Today though I was sitting on the side of my bed in the middle of my launch into morning routine. With the scissors sitting only ten feet away from me it seemed appropriate to actually do something about my overly long hair.
“Just do it” takes time to work though. By the time I was deploying it, I had already covered my psoriasis with ointment. “Would the hair shavings get stuck on the ointment and prove even more irritating?”, I wondered. I hesitated over getting the scissors out. Repeat the mantra, just do it, just do it. Now is not the time for thinking, now is the time for action. The moustache was trimmed. Perhaps I could trim my beard too? Just do it. Shorten and tidying up my hair too? Just do it. Well move that pile of clothes first perhaps. Just do it.
A cascade of hair cutting took place. I know it isn’t perfect. Perfect would involve more effort and time. Perfect is another reason I can deploy to stop myself from achieving. Just do it, demands some action rather than total action, some action is often enough to lead to some other action. Total action can be final and lead to nothing. My haircut is good enough for today and that’s fine.
This got me wondering though how it would feel to say “just do it” to everything. I decided to write down the last thirty minutes or so thoughts.
I manged to do two things I have been putting off yesterday. I went swim training for the first time in over two weeks plus, I started a “couch to 5km” running programme. What’s more I started the running programme with my family including the dog. The dog incidentally started out by pulling me along but after a while decided I should pull him along instead. Today I half thought about doing some hill repetition training on my bicycle to keep my exercising regime going. I actually thought about this in bed, and looked at the weather forecast on my phone. I saw rain drops so decided against it. Once up though I looked out the curtained window and discovered sunshine, clouds, wind but no rain. That wind looks rather strong though. Just do it. You might be overdoing the exercise. You know what you are like, you do too much and get fed up after a while. Just do it. I don’t know. There is truth in needing a rest. Maybe don’t do it then.
What about doing some garden work? I need to dig up that bed and get rid of all the weeds and grass. Once cleared I can put that shrub in that has been sitting there for over a year. I look at the scene of my desire. There is a cable running along that bed which provides the house’s internet and telephone. I must be careful not to damage it. Just do it. It looks overwhelming to me, there so much to do there. Just do it. No it feels too much, perhaps something else less demanding.
What about booking the car hire for tomorrow? It’s Sunday morning, I don’t think they will be open. Well you could try and find out. I am sure tomorrow morning will be fine. How will you communicate with your daughter? I am sure a text to school will be fine. Just do it? No, I don’t think so.
How about writing that article you thought about? You know the one about answering doors? I am not sure I can remember what people said. I think you have the basic differences. Well maybe, it takes time to write though. Wouldn’t I be better using my morning energy on other things?
How about catching up with some volunteer would you do? I need access to my upstairs computer to do that and my partner is up in that room at the moment. Somebody else in the room when you need to thing, yep I can see that’s a rather full stop. JDI isn’t going to help there.
There is cake sitting on the side of the kitchen. I notice when I let the dog out into the garden. Could I eat that for breakfast? You don’t tend to each until 1pm. True, but it’s a Sunday. I can change the rules on Sunday. But I don’t feel hungry. Come on then eat it! Just do it. I eat the cake and feel a depressed.
It would seem that “just do it” has a much better change of success if the task is not too large and the result is something that I feel positive about. I think the inability of JDI to tackle some jobs highlights the difficulty in making a decision. The worst that can happen when trimming my moustache is that I cut it so that it looks wrong (in my eyes) so I either live with it or cut the rest of the hair growth off. My beard will grow back and all I have to endure is a few comments from people about how much they like me without a large beard.
Looking back there were things I could have done (and can still do) to make progress towards my goals. Rather than abandon thevtasks on the computer, I can use another computer (like this one) to look at the tasks that need to be done. I could ask somebody else to try the car hire place. I could examine the ground and see if I can locate the cable. I could walk the dog to get some exercise rather than risk over extending myself with hill reps.
It takes time and effort to come to these conclusions though. I needed to write this post to re-examine those decisions, to step back and look at them. It seems to me that “just do it” is not necessarily a way to convince myself to do things, but more of a tool to test whether the task at hand is manageable with the resources I have. Just do it may get me moving and into action, but it can also signpost when something needs to be broken down into smaller bits I can mange or if not, perhaps a flag to ask for support from a friend.
And as a bonus, I have something to post about. That has been on my mind too!