Dirty Dishes v. Caitlin… Let the Battle Begin.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the battle of the century, a confrontation like this never before seen. In one corner, coming in at the weight of EVERY SINGLE DISH from the cupboard, sits the enemy. Standing in the doorway with Dawn in one hand and some serious sponges in the other and ready to battle, stands Caitlin. Let’s see how this unfolds….

Now, let me paint you a picture… The setting of this epic battle?? The disgustingly small and seriously outdated dorm kitchen during my junior year of college on move out day. After 6 exhausting finals, a vocal performance and being very unexpectedly broken up with by my boyfriend of 6.5 years for a mutual friend, I was just about at wits end. My stress level was through the roof and I was on the verge of tears at any moment.

My room had basically been cleaned out – everything packed and in the car. Everything except those damn dishes. With all of the stress in the past few days (okay, maybe a weeks) I had let my dishes soak in the sink and told myself I would deal with them later. I kept putting the task off and off some more. There were more important things to do and dishes were really not on my immediate list of things to deal with. But today, today I had to get them done. Today I was moving home for the summer and the dishes couldn’t stay in the sink soaking for 3 months… They had to be dealt with now.

I emptied the water and ran fresh warm water and added the soap. I picked up the first dish ready to conquer this last task before I could hit I-39 home free and…. I lost it. I burst into tears and basically crumbled to the floor. The dishes had one. I couldn’t do it. I picked myself up, picked up all the dishes and throw every last one of them in the garbage as I cried and cried and cried.

Basically, stress had completely consumed me and the dishes were the official victim. Washing the dishes was a seemingly simple task but at this point, I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t have an ounce left of strength in me to conquer the task. Lately, I can feel that stress compounding again. (Dishes beware!!) These past few weeks have been filled to the brim with obligations, deadlines and events. I could feel the stress eating away at my body, physically and mentally until finally, I had to give in. I had to say “no” to any obligations I had over the weekend and just take time for myself before I lost it like I did the Day of the Dishes.

As young professionals, we tend to push ourselves to the point of no return. We push and push and push and push until we finally snap. Sometimes dishes are the victims but sometimes more important relationships with our friends or significant other or family become the innocent victims. Dishes can be replaced but relationships? Not so much….

We need to realize our breaking points before we reach them. We need to be able to say “No!” I can’t do one more thing! We need to schedule time for ourselves and learn when to accept that what we have accomplished may have to suffice rather than risk our health to reach perfection. Figure out what you can realistically manage without giving yourself an ulcer and then cut the rest. Prioritize what you HAVE to keep and what you really won’t miss. Every now and then, put yourself first.

Immediately after I threw the dishes away, I felt better. It wasn’t the most eco-friendly or practical solution, but at that point, it was all I had left in me. I had reached my breaking point and the dishes had won. I dried my eyes, walked out of that kitchen and didn’t look back at those dishes. But, now, I remember how that moment felt and I try really really hard for the sake of my physical and mental health as well as my current dishes, to never get to that point again.

-Caitlin

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~ by caitlinludwig on October 5, 2010.

4 Responses to “Dirty Dishes v. Caitlin… Let the Battle Begin.”

  1. What a great reminder! I have a hard time cutting back and saying no as well but, as you pointed out, sometimes when you don’t, things get out of hand and that downward spiral starts. I have been working more and more to do simple things like turn my phone down and not take calls 24/7 and prioritize some “me” time so I can decompress when I need to. Good post!! 🙂

  2. Nice job! Love you, MOM

  3. So unbelievably true…not sure what that breaking point is for me, but I know I’m getting close 🙂 Remember: saying no = “I’m sorry, I have the butt flu.”

    Long live the butt flu excuse!!! 🙂

  4. hahaha this post is brillian 🙂

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