Saturday, August 28, 2010

A triumphant day

I am good at a lot of things, but not great at anything. I often think that I would like to be the very best at something. Anything, almost. But maybe not the thing I really excel at – procrastination. Why am I such an adept at this awful practice? I procrastinate about everything, but mostly the little things that take no time and just make life easier. I have them on my mental (or often actual paper) lists, fret that they are not done, stare at them ruefully, regret that I am not doing them, and then decide that tomorrow would be a much more appropriate day. Usually, when I finally do them, they often take ten minutes or less, and my relief is enormous. I then think that I have spent way more time fretting about this little task than it actually took to do, and I have endured such anxiety about it not being done. This, to me, sounds like the doings of a dodo. But there you are! I try to overcome it, but it is a very uphill battle. Actually, a losing battle.
I made myself a pair of earrings with little birds on silver chains, but when I tried them on, the chains were too long, and the birds looked silly. I left them out so that I would see them daily, and perhaps be inspired to fix them. Daily, I looked at them, and thought, “I had better do that. It won’t take but a minute. I could be wearing them right now, and they would be perfect with this outfit.” The outfit they would be perfect with is my work outfit, so I actually did think this pretty frequently. Occasionally, I would even try them on to see if anything had miraculously changed, and they had gotten less goofy looking. Nothing ever had. Then, one day, I wrote to my friend Sabine and mentioned the earrings. I sent off the letter, contemplated the earrings and the dopiness of not just doing it, and then – just did it. Now I am happy every time I wear them, and marvel at what a goofus I am.

My most dramatic procrastination feat, however, has been cleaning my living room carpet. I have had this at the top of my to do list for years. I mean, really, really years! Maybe ten! I often thought about sending it out. There were several deterrents here. It would be expensive, it was a lot of work to get the carpet folded up and into the car, and most of all, it was so disgusting that I would be humiliated to make the carpet cleaner man deal with it. And if I did it myself, I still had to get it outside and find a good place to do it. And then there was the weather. I needed guaranteed sun for a few days. This being Seattle, that was sort of limiting (but not as limiting as I let it be.) Finally, I could stand the carpet no longer, and so John and I rolled it up, lugged it out, and gave it a good wash. I was shocked to see the disgusting muck just roll off. Shocked and delighted. It is a different color now, and I am happy every time I walk across it.

Procrastination has its rewards. I am so triumphant and thrilled when the task is finally done. If I had just done it in the first place, there would be none of this ecstasy of long-delayed accomplishment.


Janet said...

A job well done! And well worth waiting for!
We're here!!! Do you want to come over and find all that we have to procrastinate about? A plan, a plan, all we need is a plan - so sayeth my husband. We'll go out now and work on our PLAN.

(Meanwhile I have watered the shrivelled plants in hope of a revival)

Laura said...
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Laura said...

I know just what you mean. I finally had my windows cleaned and it is even more delightful to see through clearly now after the long delay!