Are you ever really ready?

Dirty Dishes

Have you ever wanted to do something but you felt you weren’t quite ready yet? Maybe you want more money in the bank first, or you’re waiting until the kids are done high school, or you have some other reason that now just isn’t the right time to do the thing?

If so, I know what you’re up to. I’ve done the same thing. But after a recent a-ha in my own life, it’s become clear to me that the time is never completely right for the things we want. (It doesn’t matter if it’s a thing you’d like to have, a relationship you’re looking for, losing weight or another health or other personal goal you plan to achieve.)

Here’s what happened for me:

A while back, my dishwasher died. Now, the dishwasher in my kitchen is very poorly situated, away from the sink, on the other side of the room. I determined that before I replaced that dishwasher, I would relocate it. But in order to move it, the cupboards and counter would have to be reconfigured so a machine would fit in a new spot, and to fill in the old spot. And before I got into cupboard reconstruction, I might as well replace the floor. So rather than simply replacing a dishwasher, I was envisioning an entire kitchen renovation. I decided to put off the purchase and do dishes by hand until I was ready. And the clock ticked.

If I’m honest with myself (and now you!), a kitchen overhaul is not in my immediate future plans. My resources of time, energy, space, creativity and finances have been allocated in other directions for at least the next few years. So here I am, with two children living with me (my newly-graduated daughter is home for a year saving for the next phase of her education) and both of them like to eat on a pretty consistent basis – and they tend to dirty a plate or two along the way. I have my clients to coach, and all the other aspects of running a business to tend, plus I have a part-time gig as my son’s chauffeur. In a few short months, I’ll begin the courses for my Masters degree. While I don’t mind the zen of doing dishes by hand, it’s a time vacuum that keeps me from doing other things that I need or want to do. (Plus, it’s a real energy zapper to walk into the kitchen and always see dishes in the sink.)

So, on the weekend, while the mountain of dishes in threatened to topple onto the floor, I waltzed into my friendly neighbourhood appliance store and picked out a dishwasher. (Stainless steel this time, because I’ve learned the hard way that black appliances show all the fingerprints!) It will be delivered and installed tomorrow.

According to my original plan, I’m not ready to buy a dishwasher. I haven’t picked a new floor, I have no idea how I want to reconfigure the kitchen cupboards, and maybe the front hall closet has to move, too. But according to my current reality, I can’t take being without one for another week. (In other psychological speak: the pain of not having a dishwasher became greater for me than the pain of changing the plan.) The new dishwasher will be going in the old spot. While it’s true that I feel a little disappointed that I don’t have everything else in place before my new appliance arrives, it also feels like Christmas is coming early for me!

I got to thinking about how often we hold ourselves back from something we really want or need because we’re waiting to get all our ducks in a row. If you find yourself there right now, I encourage you to look at whether not having or not doing that thing right now – even though you don’t think the timing is perfect – is causing you more pain in the short-term than sticking to the original plan. Id love to hear what you discover!

Until next time,

I wish you vibrant health and a beautiful day!

PS. Yes, of course, my children help with the dishes. But maybe now they’ll do so with much less grumbling.


Lisa Petty, PhD

Lisa Petty, PhD, is a midlife mentor and well-being strategist who helps women release the pressure to be everything to everyone so they can take care of their own well-being—without guilt. Dr. Petty helps women move through midlife uncertainty to emerge re-energized, with a redefined sense of who they are and what they want.