I think it all started in the womb (doesn’t everything?). It was Labor Day weekend and my mom’s doctor wasn’t about to have his holiday plans spoiled by some pesky little baby girl, so he induced labor and delivered me on Friday afternoon. That freed up his schedule so he could hit the links on Saturday morning, launch his pontoon boat in the Paupack, or attend a swingers’ convention (it was the early 70s after all).
Like a discovered fugitive forced out from the safety of her hiding place, I was dramatically removed from the comfort of my mother’s womb before I was ready. And, I believe that ever since, I have been rebelling through procrastination. (On a side note, please accept my apologies; this column was actually due last month.) Nevertheless, I hope you can still appreciate the message here. Maybe some of your best friends are procrastinators; perhaps someone you love wears the scarlet P on his or her chest, or, the procrastinator, is you! If you’re like me, I forgive you for putting the paper down and not finishing this column for a few days. As long as you return soon, I’ll be happy.
The thing about procrastination is, it doesn’t keep us from being productive members of society. Forgive me for bragging a bit, but I set some lofty goals and even though I take my time getting started, I do achieve them. I’ve written and published two books, ran my first marathon last fall, and left my day job to invest full time in my business: Laugh to Live! But I often wonder what else I could achieve if I didn’t put things off. I can only imagine the challenges I could conquer if I didn’t pause to watch hours of junk TV on Bravo. If Andy Cohen would produce the Real Housewives of Plains Township, I would watch it. The only differences I could imagine from the Real Housewives of New York or Orange County, would be the women in Plains doing their hair pulling and back stabbing at the church picnic instead of the Chanel store. My name is Jeannine and I watch too much TV. (Here’s where you would say , as a group, “Hi Jeannine.”)
I don’t know why I put things off. Every time I begin a project days before it’s due or I wait until hours before a business presentation to prepare my notes, I seem surprised by my own behavior as if it was beyond my control. I tend to get nervous and worry if I’ll succeed. Well it’s time that I learn to embrace the procrastinator in me and feel confident about what I will accomplish. The procrastinator in me needs love too. She may be a little tardy for the figurative party (I am actually a very punctual person so I’m rarely late for the literal party) but when she arrives, she’s fierce. The only alternative to accepting and loving the procrastinator in me is to change my behavior, or at least curb it. I’m not sure how soon I see that happening. I bought a book once about how to change my procrastinating ways, but I only read the first two chapters. That was 10 years ago. I may not have finished that book, but I’ve completed a number of important chapters in the story of my life.