Friday, January 27, 2012

I'm a Total Nag

It's true. I'm a total nag.

I think a big part of the problem was that I used to be pretty lazy. Through high school, especially, I was only semi-engaged with the idea of hard work. A big part of the problem was that I wasn't smart enough yet to understand how very little I know, and I could do well in things like school and after-school jobs with only a modicum of effort.

Then I went to college, and after a party-hearty first semester, I knuckled down. I definitely worked a lot harder than I did in high school, partly because I was beginning to realize that no matter how much I learned in class, there was so much more I didn't know. That said, I still wasn't winning any awards. Maybe I didn't "own" my life as much I should have, at that point, as I was still part of an educational system in which I knew I would, to a certain extent, be taken care of if I did what I was supposed to.

Everything changed, however, when I started grad school. Suddenly, either I got something done when I was supposed to, or I didn't. No one was there to remind me, or nag me, or help me schedule stuff. There were no helpful syllabi on which I could see what I must do, when. I just had to research a bunch of stuff, and then I had to write it, and occasionally pass stuff in.

All of a sudden, I was entirely responsible for my own success. And that changed me.

I became my mother.

My mom is an absolute power house of a woman who does approximately 1,000 things before dawn. The rest of the day is spent doing the real work. Seriously, she's amazing and slightly terrifying.

And I'm both proud and afraid that I've become her.

Now that I'm doing two things I love (writing and teaching), I have to be very productive in order to be, well, productive. Basically, I work all the time. It ain't pretty, but it's true. As a lifestyle choice, it works for me right now, and I'm not asking for an intervention. Where I go wrong, however, is not realizing that other people don't have to work as hard as I do, and very few actually want or need to.

Cuz that's when I start nagging. I know exactly what people in my life can do to become NUMBER ONE, so why aren't they doing it? I can't understand this, so I go ahead and fill them in on where they're going wrong. Eventually, I realize they want to punch me in the eye.

I'm shocked, every time.

So one of the things I'm working on is not giving advice unless it's asked for, and then dropping it once it's given rather than chasing up to see if they did what I told them to. I'm not not telling people what my MUCH BETTER PLAN THAN THEIRS is, and I'm no longer saying to people, "Why the fuck don't you just do it, already, and stop saying you'll do it?"

Because even if I am right, and I do have the answers, nobody wants to hear them. And I certainly don't want to be that person. Even if that person is RIGHT, GODDAMIT.

She's also annoying. That nag that is me.


Sophie Littlefield said...

ha! i think you have identified a character flaw that I'm wearing around like a necklace of teeth, myself! yeah, maybe we should just nag each other.

Nicole Peeler said...

We can nag each other about nagging. ;-)

Gigi Pandian said...

I totally flip flop on how much to nag myself into being productive. I love it when I've *been* productive, in the past tense. That's generally why I work in big productive spurts, and then take long relaxing breaks. When I see your Tweets about how productive you're being, it's a good kick in the pants to get back to that productive place!

Rachael Herron said...

Holy crap. That's me. I am getting better about not nagging people, but my fatal flaw is when they ask for advice. I TOTALLY know how they can be the best person in the whole world, and they can lasso the moon, tonight probably, if they would just do it! And then I follow up, and I'm disappointed, and realize (again) it's none of my damn business.

Yes, let's nag each other (and Sophie, of course).

Nicole Peeler said...

Gigi: Hehehehehe. I manage to nag even when I don't intend to! Or maybe I do? ;-)

Rachael: See, I sort of have a "you asked for it, you got it" policy when it comes to advice. BUT I'm trying to be better about not assuming they'll take it. In other words, advice is just that: an advisement of what someone might want to do, not a contract they'll do it. EVEN THOUGH IT'S OBVIOUSLY RIGHT. ;-)

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