Recently while messing with clock settings in order to get a program to install, I discovered a silly little computer thing-a-ma-bob. My Mac allows you to set something called the “announce the time”. This is exactly what it sounds like it is. There are even 6 different “custom” voices to choose from. I thought it would be funny to set my computer to announce the time on the hour. After all, while working I tend to get sucked into the vortex of concentration and shiny computer colors and could use a wake up every now and then.
It’s been 2 days. At first it was funny. Now… it’s slightly less than funny. And the more I think about it, I feel as if my computer is mocking me. I am focusing quite intently on completing something that may or may not be slightly… or a few months over due (long story). Every five minutes I must intentionally suppress the guilt-invoking, nagging thoughts that creep in when there are six top priority things I have to do… “I really need to do the dishes”…. “I have to get that ready for Saturday”… “I am out of gas and have to drive to school in the morning”… “That’s finally boiling – time to add to the pot for dinner”… “Is that the baby crying?”… “What will I have the boys do when they wake up?”…. “Did we finish EVERYTHING for home study today”…. “Gosh I have no clean underwear…” “SHUSH – silence you foul thoughts! I HAVE to finish this – it’s my only chance for the rest of the week!!!” Then, interrupting the inward battle I’ve nearly won…
“It’s 4 o’clock,” says the ever-helpful ‘Victoria’. Waves of guilt come crashing down so hard that I actually remove my hands from the keyboard. Pounding heart. Anxiety through the roof. Enter chest pains. (it’s cute that you think I’m exaggerating). It’s like she’s mocking me. “It’s four o’clock…. your family needs dinner!” …. “It’s 4 o’clock… ha ha – the boys’ nap time is nearly over!”… “It’s four o’clock… what have you done with your day?”… *evil cackling* “It’s four o’clock – why are you wasting your life sitting at the computer?”… “It’s four o’clock – you won’t get to bed for seven more hours and when you do – – you won’t sleep long…”… “You’re behind… you’ll always be behind! You’ll never complete all the things you have to and time will march on leaving you in the dust of your own horrific failure” **dissolves into evil howling**
Yes, I can turn everything into a self-defeating guilt trip. It’s amazing. It comes from swimming in an ocean of expectations too often, and too deep.