Sunday, June 30, 2013

Avoiding the "Bed Guy" Approach to Life

I live across the street from a guy who never leaves his bed.

Before you report me for stalking and peeping tomfoolery, please note that I only know this because he doesn’t own blinds. He does, however, have a seemingly endless supply of potato chips, two big screen televisions that stream endlessly and a mounting pile of unfolded laundry on his couch. He doesn’t, dare I say, have a girlfriend (there’s no room for her on the couch and she wouldn’t let him keep such an untidy existence), but the television characters seem to keep him company as he munches and crunches while sprawling across his bed, illuminated by the blue glow of the screen.

Peering into the life of "bed guy" has become an unintentional habit. His apartment is directly across from mine, so I get a view into his static world every time I look out the window. Day in and day out, he lounges about his unkempt studio apartment, sometimes adding another empty wine bottle to the collection on his windowsill.  

Meanwhile, on my own side of the street, I am also finding myself falling into a routine in my New York life. I know that every day at Ladies’ Home Journal will bring more reader mail that requires personalized responses, more free books sent into the office that will need to be logged into a spreadsheet, more stories to research, interviews to transcribe and health blogs to write. By week four, I know it will take me approximately 13 minutes to sort and distribute said mail and 90 seconds to sneak in an extra cup of coffee.

I could simply follow the "bed guy" approach to life and the workplace — doing enough to get by, but never more than is necessary.

But every morning, my neighbor is a reminder of what not to do and who not to be. He reminds me, as he reaches for the remote, that I could always be doing more. Pitching. Researching. Writing.

So I do. I wake up with a glance out the window and the instant motivation to do better. To learn as much as I can and to use each day to become a little more integrated into the LHJ staff.

Of course, I’m not immune from the bed guy syndrome in every aspect. I’m not always on top of my laundry, and I do enjoy a good snack of chips and Trader Joe's spicy salsa after work.

But I’m trying. I’m getting better. Every day I’m doing more than the last.

And, if nothing else, I’m getting out of bed.

By Allison Pohle, University of Missouri-Columbia, Ladies' Home Journal
Edited by Mary Clare Fischer, University of Maryland, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

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