Procrastination (What it's really doing to your life)

Hi. My name is Molly and I’m a procrastinator. (Do they have support groups for procrastinators?)

I’ve been meaning to start my blog for quite some time now - it’s probably been about a year since I really started thinking about it. I’ve had my website for almost 7 months and yet, no posts until now. 

I’ll admit I’ve been a procrastinator for a long time. Since becoming more aware of my anxiety and how my brain functions, I’ve realized my anxiety plays a big part in my procrastination (as odd as that may sound). Most people would assume that someone with anxiety issues would be more organized and on top of things as a result. Well, that’s really not always the case. 

My procrastination stems from the things that anxiety does to my thoughts. I worry a lot about things that just stall me from getting started, taking chances, and enjoying the journey that life is. 

Thoughts like

  • “I need to find the right time first"
  • "I want to be perfectly prepared before starting _____” 
  • "Am I capable of doing a good enough job?”
  • “Will people like my ideas/thoughts/work/etc”

all make it hard to get started on pursuing the many things we want or envision for our lives. 

Ideas of perfectionism and “the perfect time” for something can spiral into excuses like

  • “I’ll make it happen eventually”
  • “I’ll eventually chase my dreams and make my life what I want it to be”
  • “I’ll eventually find more quality time to spend with my loved ones”
  • “I’ll eventually get my health in check 

That word "eventually" can be really dangerous. 

Procrastination at this level is toxic- not just the kind where you put off writing a paper (even though that kind sucks too), but the kind of procrastination where you put off life. Spending more time with loved ones, stressing less about the little unimportant things, taking that dream vacation, making a bold career move, chasing your dreams in general. The more time you waste putting these things off for the “right time”, the less time you have to enjoy the present and to enjoy the journey of making these things happen. And then when there’s no time left, you’re stuck feeling regretful/wishful/whatever you may feel. 

So, I’m starting now and here’s why. 

I’m writing my first blog post ever in the car on the way home from West Virginia; I was visiting my Aunt and Uncle. I wish I could say this was a fun trip, but unfortunately not. Back in June, my Uncle had a stroke that left him paralyzed from the waist down and with only a slight amount of mobility in only one arm. As with most serious strokes, it also impacted his brain and his personality. It was pretty unexpected, as we all thought he was in relatively good health when it happened. Luckily he has come far since the stroke, seeing as how they were unsure if he was even going to recover at all. 

This was the first time I was able to come up with my parents since his stroke to visit and help out. I feel bad because it’s long over due -  I’ve always loved seeing my Aunt and Uncle and they’ve always treated me like I was their own child. I’ve been busy; I kept saying “I’ll make the time ASAP”. That typical procrastination mindset where you think you have all the time in the world.

I’m glad that I finally was able to see him and spend time with him, even on not such happy terms. Reflecting, we were so lucky for the short time we spent together this weekend because unfortunately we are not always lucky enough to have more time with someone we love before losing them. Over the summer, another Uncle of mine was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The day before I was supposed to fly down to Florida to see him, he passed away. 

This weekend was emotionally hard, but also eye opening. It brought up a lot of feelings about other family members I have lost; fears of losing others close to me. Seeing my Aunt so distraught, seeing my Uncle so sick and hearing him apologize for things from the past, talk about his regrets, and wanting to be with God was hard. It’s hard to see your loved ones struggle to that extent - you feel the pain yourself. There were a lot of tears. But I cherish this visit because of what it meant to them and for the fact that it put things into perspective for me. 

Time isn’t guaranteed, to anyone, ever.

I would have never thought a year ago that something like this would happen to a family member of mine that was doing so well. But it did. Life can change so quickly and you can never get that time back. 

So, let's stop treating time like it’s infinite and forgiving, because it’s not. Procrastinating is just wasting the precious time we have now to enjoy life for all that it brings. There’s no use dwelling in the past, but it's also important to stop wasting the present and worrying about the uncertainty of future. All you can control is this moment, so start making what you need and want happen now and enjoy every second of the ride.

Change jobs. Get a new look. Make your dream vacation happen. Take that adventure with a friend. Hug your parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, dogs, cats, and even your fish. 

Because you just never know.