How to Procrastinate
Well, I did it again.
I told myself I would do something and I didn’t do it.
Fuck, I didn’t even try to start doing it.
And this has nothing to do with New Year’s Resolutions or any sort of holiday commemorating a new and better version of ourselves starts with a thirty-day juice cleanse and challenges involving everything from no swearing to no spending.
Merely, it’s that I just didn’t care enough to make time for it. And I also thought other things were more critical mainly work.
I have had this bad habit of putting work before myself. I'll get up early, head down to my local coffee shop and bullshit with my friend behind the counter for 30 minutes. Then, I go to my table that sits roughly twenty feet away check email and then I get to work. But the thing is that it's not even 7:30 in the morning and already I am online working. I haven't done a damn thing for myself. The worst part is that I didn't find anything wrong with this until recently. Until I woke up early and ironically on the first of the year in a cold sweat.
And no I wasn't sick.
I had a panic attack, a freak out of sorts. It wasn't like the ones I use to have when I came home from the war. Those were awful, and I always thought I was having a heart attack since my chest was pounding, vibrating my ribcage with a tenacity I only felt when I played running back in high school, and three angry, testosterone loaded seniors were chasing me down like a pack of hyenas. But the morning of December 31st, I woke up to beads of sweat forming on my brow. My shirt was soaked around the neck collar in sweat. I gasped for air as I popped up out of my bed wondering what in the actual hell was happening to me.
I took a walk into my kitchen and stared at my computer for a moment. We'd been through a lot, my Macbook and I. I pound the shit out of her keyboard every day. I curse at her, I laugh at the videos my friends share on social. I've cried in front of her when I wrote something that I didn't want to talk about but was compelled to do so anyway. Those times when I wrote from the depths were my happiest moments. And for almost the last year, I stopped being vulnerable with my writing. I decided to answer emails instead. When I felt the need to go back to writing for me, I put it off with the "not today, but tomorrow" mindset that most of us have felt trapped by at some point in our lives. Then the need dwindled. The fire to share my thoughts regardless of how asinine they were with the world died. And I became the one thing I told myself I never wanted to become.
A working stiff.
My dad references working stiff like some sort of badge of honor, like putting in the man hours behind a desk staring at a calendar filled with black x's over the days completed was worthy of a medal commemorating brave or heroic acts in a war zone. If my friends ever saw me parading around with any badge recognizing countless hours of behind a desk, they would slap the shit out of me, especially my friends who didn't make it home from the sandbox. They would tell me that I didn't have my priorities straight and that I was all jacked up. No good friend ever tells you that you deserve a medal for being a heroic working stiff. No good friend ever tells you that putting your work, your job, your paycheck before yourself is worthy of a congressional award and being knighted by the fucking Queen of England.
No good friend would ever tell you that you are a hero for selfless service in answering client emails.
And thank God, I have those friends because, on the morning of December 31st, I called a good friend of mine and told him that I woke up in a mild sweat and medium panic attack.
"What have you not been doing for yourself?"
"I always do things for myself," I replied.
"I highly doubt that. When was the last time you wrote, you meditated, you took care of you first? Didn't you say it was time you start doing that before you went to work?"
I hate when my friends are right, especially the ones that hold me accountable. It pisses me off because that means if they are saying something about me not doing what I said I was going to do, that means it's a big fricking deal, and I need to wake the hell up.
Thing is, when you have procrastinated like I have over the last year, you start realizing that procrastination is a deadly practice, that without good friends and discipline, you will slowly morph into a lifeless being. You'll be a working stiff, wasting away years and time only to find yourself on your deathbed wishing you had made more of a concerted effort to write, to work out, to travel.
And my darkest and deepest fear is that I will end up there feeling regret and remorse that I didn't make time to pursue the things I love, and I chose to work more instead.
Don't regret and waste time not doing what you love first. We all have to work. It's the way our society is constructed with money, bills, a vicious cycle that makes most of us wish we could move to Mexico and fish in the Gulf for the next thirty years. And if we are going to work as much as we do, then making time for the things we love as much as we do is just as important. Whether it's before we clock in or after we clock out, the things we will think about in our old age will not be the meetings, the projects or the performance evaluations involving bonuses and demerits. It will be the moments alone in writing, the time spent with friends on birthdays, the phone calls to our parents. It will be the places we went, the emotions we shared, and the lessons we learned.
Don't let time pass you by like it did for me. Put your memories first. Put your loves first. Put you first.
Man, does it feel good to pound the crap out of my keyboard again!