In his posthumous book, The Salmon of Doubt, Douglas Adams wrote, “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” Which is very charming and witty and Adams-esque.
And it annoys the hell out of me.
I hate deadlines. They bring me nothing but anxiety, as I watch the days go by and the deadline get closer and the project lay dormant. And I do it to myself, I realize. I am a terrible procrastinator, waiting until the very last minute to virtualy anything. And it’s not that I do something else in order to procrastinate doing the thing I don’t want to do. Some people, they will explain, “I did my dishes because I was procrastinating doing my laundry.” I simply don’t do anything.
I think I’ve figured out why I do it, though: one, it’s worked out for me so far. It’s a bit hard to convince yourself to buckle down and do something early when experience has taught you that you can knock out a research paper–research included!–eight hours before it’s due. And two, if I barely have enough time to think about the project, then I certainly don’t have time to OVERthink it.
That’s where my problems usually come up. I overthink everything. It’s the major source of my anxiety. When presented with any situation, I will find myself on The Darkest Path, the one that ends in misery and tears and hospitals, and I convince myself that this is what is going to happen. And of course it isn’t going to happen.
My solution to this has been to throw myself into any given situation with no thought at all. This is not a solution by any means, and almost always ends up badly, but it is the only way I’ve figured out for me to go and do anything in the world.
I can’t seem to find the middle ground, where I stop and consider my choices, and then proceed to calmly perform an action. Either I jump in feet first or I convince myself I’m going to drown and avoid it all together. I’m not good with balance. Which is why I always go into February feeling like a failure.
As I always do at the beginning of the year, I’m suckered in by the endless chanting of “new year, new me!” and attempt to improve myself. This year was all about expressing myself creatively in different outlets. I’m aware that this is hilariously broad and more of a marathon and not a sprint, but I barreled into it with lots of half-baked ideas and no real plan of execution. This resulted in me being frazzled and overwhelemed, and I missed my self-imposed deadline of having a blog post published every other Tuesday.
You may think that I’m making a big deal over a deadline that I gave myself, but that was part of this exercise. The main goal was to force me to write more and consistently, but it was also to develop in me a better habit of finishing stuff on time.
I failed. That’s all I can see: I didn’t do that, so I failed, so I should stop trying.
But perhaps my failure is another teachable moment for me in the Great Project of Getting My Shit Together 2k19: not giving up because it’s the easy thing to do. So here I am, rambling away, and publishing it the next day. I got back on the horse instead of lying in the dirt and waiting to get crushed by a hoof. A small victory that no one knows or cares about, but I will treasure forever. Or at least as long as I remember that it happened. That could be twelve years or twelve minutes.
So I’m not a failure. Not yet, anyway. It’s a long year. But I’ll try and take it one blog post at a time.