I just shot my rolling chair across the office to check on my other computer. Just as I punched my foot against the floor to send the chair off on its wild trajectory, I had a terrible, chilling thought: I forgot to check for the cats!!!! I flailed around trying to stop the chair, ‘in case’. Almost tipped myself over. Probably gave myself a pretty good bruise on the thigh from smacking the side of the table. Ow. Stupid cats…
Then and only then I remembered: we, uh, don’t have cats anymore. One died of age-and-mileage related complications, and we gave the other to a new home.
Not recently. Years ago.
It’s so odd. They’ve been gone for three years now? Four? And still I have these moments, still look for them underfoot, still find myself thinking as I shoot past PetSmart: Ohmygosh, I forgot the cat food…
The cats themselves are gone, but the habit of them remains. Hard-wired into my mind.
I’ve been freaking out about the debt we piled up this year; when I think about it logically, it’s not that big a deal for us. I’m earning more on the money in the emergency fund than I’m spending to let it ride while we gather ourselves. We could blast that bad boy in a matter of months by reducing our contributions to college funds and post-tax retirement investments. We have lots of options, even the worst of which isn’t going to do us all that much harm.
But no. After all those years of doing battle with the Credit Card Dragon, I react to carrying an unplanned balance on a credit card the same way I just did about the possibility of running over a long-gone cat’s tail. It is a habit hard-wired into my brain that credit card debt is an inherent evil that must be BURNED FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH!!!!
How…primal of me.
You know what?
I’m tripping over a cat that isn’t there.
You know what else?
I need to stop doing that.
I’m willing to bet that if I go back to the very basics and compare where we’re heading right now with what we really want to have, to do and be, I’m going to find that we’ve been straying from that path ever since I left the job force two years ago. Ever since then, I have been so utterly focused on only what was right immediately in front of me, entirely wrapped up in the day to day operations. Making the coffee, the lunches, taking the children to and from school, scoring the deals at the thrift store, paying the bills…but not thinking much about overall direction.
That’s fine, if you’re the dock hand at the warehouse. But if you’re the COO of the company? You’d better understand the bigger picture, and act accordingly.
Guess what? The CFO, COO, and half of the CEO responsibilities for the Den belong to me. There are five other people who rely on me to be on my game, to make possible the goals and dreams we’ve come up with together. My husband in particular counts on me to be not only good at this stuff, but damned good at it.
I can’t be wasting time tripping over non-existent cats and screaming about dragons (especially when the ‘dragon’ is more like a ‘newt’).
So let’s revisit Things, shall we…starting with that list of what we want to have, do and be in this short little life of ours…
George Bernard Shaw
1 day ago