Leanna Kowallis met all these lovely ladies when she was pursuing her Bachelor of English degree. She is also a Master of International Affairs, and not just the kind that earned her the diploma. She lives in Washington, DC, and is part of a very prestigious dinner group. She also enjoys Norse mythology, Wisconsin cheese curds and formulaic chick flicks. More about Leanna here.

Most of my life I have been haunted by The New Leanna. The New Leanna is really quite extraordinary. She is organized. She is in control. The New Leanna never procrastinates doing her homework or projects at work. The New Leanna goes to bed early, she wakes up early, she exercises three times every week and eats only nutritious food. She is especially kind and compassionate. (Probably because she spends 30 minutes reading the scriptures every day.) Her bathroom is always clean and she flosses at least once every day, usually twice. The New Leanna would never deliberately put on dirty clothes in the morning and then pretend that it ‘just happened on the way to work’.

We are in pretty constant communication, The New Leanna and I. She usually contacts me at about 8:00 on Sunday evening to talk about the week.

NL: “Hey Old Leanna. Looks like you botched things up again this week.”

OL: Oh, I don’t know. I thought things went pretty well. I went to the gym this week.

NL: You mean on Wednesday when you got into your gym clothes but didn’t actually work out since your favorite treadmill was unavailable?

OL: Yes. But at least I didn’t take the elevator when I went back down to the locker room!

NL: That’s what I thought.

Every week The New Leanna offers to take the wheel, but I’ve been resisting. She is really hard on me and makes me feel guilty for every little thing I fail to accomplish. I like to think that I don’t need The New Leanna, that I can do this on my own. Sometimes I think it would be a relief to just hand things over to her and let her do her thing, but I just can’t bring myself to let go. I have my pride and there are too many things I would miss.

It’s true that if I let The New Leanna be in charge I would probably have a better GPA and a higher paying job. Most likely I would be married with a couple well-behaved children by now. I would be a phenomenal pianist and I would be training for a marathon.

However, if I let The New Leanna be in charge I would surrender my rights to wasting time, to late night ice cream, to sleeping in. I would never know the relief of coming home late and throwing my clothes directly onto the floor before rolling into bed. The New Leanna would never let us pretend to go to bed early, but really stay up late watching back episodes of LOST on the laptop. I would never see another predictable chick flick (waste of time) or order extra mix-ins at Cold Stone (waste of money) or spend hours trying to get to 2 million points in Text Twist (waste of energy.) Those are things I would never do again.

And I don’t think I can give those up. So next time The New Leanna calls I will tell her to take her floss and her running shoes, her healthy diet and her early bedtime and find somewhere else to store them. Then I will climb into bed without washing my face. I will read under the covers until I can’t keep my eyes open. When I wake up Monday morning I will push snooze until I can’t push it anymore. And when my boss points out the stain on my sweater, I will smile and tell him that I must have spilled something on the way to work.