No, it’s not what you think. Not a letter from an old boyfriend, or a tax bill (although I do have those), or a report from a doctor about one of my children. Or, come to think of it, a note from The Principal.
This is a letter to myself.
Last November I attended an event produced by Nintendo in conjunction with The American Heart Association. Attendees were quizzed about our nutrition and exercise habits, fed a “heart healthy” meal, played Wii games, and listened to a panel of health experts discuss heart disease. Uplifting. I was convinced I was having a stroke right then and there.
Before we left, we were encouraged to write a letter to ourselves to be mailed to us 3 months in the future. That’s not a very long time, but I wrote something like this:
In three months you will be 10 pounds lighter. You can do it!”
And I addressed the letter to myself and put it into the mailbox. And I forgot about it.
I didn’t forget that I wanted to lose 10 pounds. I have thought about it every single day since then, and many consecutive days before that, too. I’ve cut out unhealthy foods for a few days at a time. I’ve skipped my nightly glass of wine…a couple of times. I’ve exercised…some. I have rented The Shred from Netflix so many months in a row that it’s just stupid that I haven’t purchased my own copy of it yet.
The letter arrived in the mail a few days ago. I’m usually pretty good with my snail mail: I open it right away, toss the envelopes and the junk mail into the recycling bin, and put the relevant papers where they belong. But this one. It sat on the kitchen counter for a while. Then it got moved to the “command center” – a kitchen cart with a stainless steel top that serves as a resting place for “things” when we arrive home from anywhere, and a collection bin for recyclables. Then it moved to my desk. Now, I think, it’s back in the kitchen.
I considered tossing it right away since I know what’s inside. I don’t want to open it, to face the sad truth that I am not 10 pounds lighter, that I am, in fact, a few pounds heavier. The actual number of pounds isn’t the point, anyway. It’s the fact that I haven’t done anything about them, not really.
I’m not going to make any excuses for myself. There certainly are reasons why I am still this weight and this level of not being in shape. But I know that if I make the decision to change that, I can do it. I just haven’t applied myself yet. And I think I haven’t done so because if I do, and I don’t succeed, I’ll be really disappointed.
Well, what do you know. I’m afraid of failure.
How many more months will it take for me to be able to open that letter and read it without misgivings? If I do nothing, 3 more months will go by and I will be the same or worse. If I do something it might take longer than 3 months, but I will be better.
That’s pretty clear logic. Ha! Thanks, Nintendo.