Last year I went to a U2 concert. I didn’t check the set list and didn’t even realize they made a new album. I didn’t buy a t-shirt. I got there a bit later than I thought I would (bands always start an hour late, so no biggie right?). Everything went fine, but I was generally sheepish about the whole thing.

Can you guess that U2 is one of my favorite bands ever? It’s not that I was embarrassed by it—it’s more that I was in denial that I can care so much about something so seemingly frivolous.  I didn’t want to make a big deal out of just a band (as if U2 isn’t one of the greatest bands ever), even though it would become one of the most epic nights of my life. I purposefully made less of a deal of it than I felt in my heart.

I was in denial about what was actually important to me.

That got me thinking–what do I really care about? What it would take for me to feel like a badass, responsible-yet-shameless, and in-control person?

I needed to get my shit together.

Get your shit together.

What’s the deal with this phrase?
When you hear “get your shit together” you probably think, ok, I need to get control of my life somehow.

You look into the abstract meaning of the phrase that people put into it. But if you take it literally, you get a huge hint on how to actually get control of your life–how to do the thing that the phrase tells you to do. You get your shit together by literally getting your shit together and keeping track of it. 

Hear me out.

A lot of people think that feeling in-control is really hard (It kind of is). But there’s a system to it–and a lot of people end up thinking that they need to do things that are completely irrelevant to feel in-control.

You don’t have to have go to some life-changing resort. You don’t need that promotion. You don’t need to learn the different types of scotch, and you don’t even have to fix that bike that’s been sitting in your garage for months.

You literally just have to get your shit together.

Think about somebody who has their shit together. What do they look like? They know where their wallet is. They are generally clean. Their phone and computer aren’t covered in a thick layer of grease. They don’t cancel last-minute because they forgot a meeting. They pack quickly. They aren’t afraid of getting robbed every time they go out because they have 1,000 pictures on their phone that they never got around to moving. They don’t have embarassing pictures that aren’t password-protected.

People who have their shit together know what their important shit is and know where it is at all times. If you asked them what their favorite shirts are, or what’s in their wallet, or what files they have on their computer in what folders, they can tell you.

This is really basic, but it gives them the confidence to go about their day.

They take care of their own important shit, and as a consequence they take care of shit in general and get shit done.

This guy can tell you his favorite band, and if they’re on tour this year, and if he can afford to go.

If you have less shit to take care of, it’s easier, but you don’t have to be a minimalist and live out of your suitcase Fight-club style. You can keep your surround-sound system and those color-changing lights you were going to fix but never got around to.

That’s because objects aren’t the hardest to keep track of. It’s harder to keep track of things that don’t actually exist–your goals, your relationships and your priorities.

What do you need to do by tomorrow? What are you reading next? Who do you risk hurting accidentally? Where are you wasting time? (Where is your wallet?)

No scotch-guide needed.
Now, I’m going to go listen to U2’s “Invisible” another 200 times.

Written by Natalia Dashan

I studied psychology and computer science at Yale. Graduated in 2016 B.S. Psychology. Wingwoman by assertion.

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