starting is always the hard part. starting is always the hard part. starting is always the hard part.
As I drove home from Lake Pontchartrain, the sound of NPR broadcasting via WWNO filled my Toyota Rav-4 SUV. The dogs were quiet enough in the back seat that I was able to take in the current discussion. The unknown host was discussing the topic of procrastination with unknown guest. Procrastination. I thought. I’m pretty good at that.
Unknown guest explained that, once a human procrastinates until the “deadline,” the “anxiety monster” comes out (or something like that). Unknown guest talked about how the anxiety monster comes out putting us in turbo-drive until we complete whatever task we happen to be procrastinating on today. Eventually the discussion came to a point that really sparked by interest: Why do humans procrastinate? What is behind putting things off to the very last minute? Is it for creativity’s sake as one caller suggested, or does it go deeper than that?
I know why I procrastinate, I scoffed to myself. And then the reality hit me: I procrastinate because I am afraid. I am afraid I am going to fail. I am afraid that it, whatever it is, won’t be perfect. There will be a typo in the paper. This business idea will never work. I am not enough.
It’s been an uphill battle with my anxiety the past couple years. But I’m finally feeling like I’ve figured out how to manage it for the most part. For me, a big part of my anxiety management is convincing myself, when I’m ready, to “just do it.” The “when I’m ready” part is the hardest part: how do you ever really know you’re ready for something?
…Oh, hi, anxiety, nice to see you again.
I realized while listening to this discussion on procrastination that my “why” for procrastinating is never going to go away. I’m never going to not have anxiety. My anxiety can’t be cured (at least not at this point) so the best I can do is learn how to manage it, and maybe I will be able to manage my tendencies to procrastinate, too.
I really am a grand procrastinator. I procrastinated treating my mental health until I had burned most bridges I had built. (Bridge burnings sponsored by anxiety, benzodiazpines, and lots of alcohol; those are stories for another post). But I’m not procrastinating anymore: I voluntary sought a therapist about a year and half ago and have been making progress since. (My psychiatrist recently told me I had done “a 180” since she met me a year ago. I’m pretty damn proud of that.)
About a year ago, I came up with the idea for this blog. I realized, while attending regular therapy sessions, that I quit a lot of things. I always thought quitting was a bad thing. I was so hard on myself so many times for quitting a task, a relationship, a job, because I was too proud to see that some things truly are not meant to be. But that isn’t a bad thing! Sometimes we have to quit to grow. As the yogi says, “Let go of things that no longer serve you.” So, I decided that writing about my failures in this blog would be helpful in the process of letting go. I also hoped that in sharing this blog, I may be able to help others let go of the things that no longer serve them. The idea of people reading my own words about my own struggles terrified me… Enter anxiety (again).
Today as I walked home from buying cigarettes from the Shell a few blocks down, I thought about the NPR radio show. I thought about how I can work on my procrastination. Well, that’s probably going to take quite a bit more therapy, I thought to myself. And then I remembered this blog. I remembered that I had been procrastinating to write a single blog post for over a year. So, on my walk home I decided that today and today only, I am going to quit procrastinating and make my first post on Diary of a Quitter. Maybe I’ll decide to quit procrastinating tomorrow, or in a couple days, months, years and craft a second post. All I know is that I quit procrastinating today and accomplished this post.
Peace, love, & start quitting shit.