You may have read Erin Mallory Long’s post on Get Your Life Together Days. On GYLT days you do all the things you’ve put off or should do to be a clean, organized adult. It’s brilliant!
Up until about 6 months ago, I was a firm believer in the GYLT Day concept. As a grad student I had a flexible schedule that allowed me to mainline Dawson’s Creek on Netflix while also not doing dishes or laundry for weeks. My GYLT days were more like GYLT hours, specifically the 4 to 6 hours it took for my family to drive in to visit from two states away.
Now I have a 9-to-5, an actual kitchen and multiple rooms to live in, an ironing board, a gym membership … all things that say, “This girl has her life together!” Sometimes I feel like I actually do, but most of the time I’m just barely hanging on. For the record, HYLT (Having Your Life Together) is not as glamorous as it might seem.
In the HYLT world, laundry and dishes get done on a regular basis. There’s occasional vacuuming, and even dusting and toilet scrubbing. Because when you’re an adult with a full-time job, who has other adults come to your house, you have to put in some time maintaining your humble abode, and you have to do it in your quote-unquote free time. (No, commercial breaks during The Mindy Project are not long enough to accomplish anything cleaning-related — I’ve tried.)
You also have to feed yourself decent food, which involves actual grocery shopping and cooking, not ordering Pad Thai from the place around the corner twice a week. You have to exercise beyond walking to the water cooler four times a day, because your metabolism is slowing down and heaven knows your entry-level position does not merit a treadmill desk. You have to go to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up when it’s still dark outside. You have to wear clothes that aren’t wrinkled, and you have to call the cable company when they overcharge you for your Internet access.
Basically, what I’m saying is HYLT 24/7 is a lot of work. I mean, just imagine a string of GYLT days stretching out in front of you for the rest of your life. That’s not something anyone wants.
And that’s why I’ve instituted Do Nothing Days. These are days when I deliberately do nothing at all to contribute to my adult-ness. Key activities on Do Nothing Days include remaining horizontal for as long as possible, group texting about music, books, movies and/or television designed for teens, and making mac and cheese from a box. Tater tots are optional. Naps and YouTube wormholes are also recommended and can be combined with any of the above.
If any of these activities seem like a waste of time, let me remind you: that’s entirely the point. If you spend 90% of your time GYLT, spending 10% of it doing nothing can have a powerful effect on your mental and emotional health. Even if you technically accomplish nothing on a Do Nothing Day (by grown-up standards), you can get back to HYLT with renewed energy when it’s over. These days are also pretty easy on the wallet.
So the next time you find yourself falling into bed at 9pm on a Friday night, exhausted and broke from running all the errands required to KYLT (Keep Your Life Together), consider indulging in a Do Nothing Day. Then return to your normal routine no worse for the wear, with an appreciation for adult life as fresh as a clean stack of neatly folded laundry.
Mackenzie Warren believes in donuts, e-friendship, and getting 8 hours of sleep every night. When she’s not at work, you can usually find her reading a YA novel, cuddling with her dog Bo, and inventing new nachos recipes — sometimes all at once. Follow her on Twitter @mabarrow and on her blog.