I think procrastination gets a bad rap. Who’s the genius that decided it needs to go in the lazy-loser category? Obviously someone with executive function skills that can see farther ahead than 24 hours. If you don’t have those particular skills, you have to come up with your own way to get sh*t done, and that’s where procrastination comes in. It’s not JUST the lazy-loser way to do things. As a matter of fact, there’s an art to procrastination…a fine balance, if you will. You have to time it just right…wait long enough to give your brain that time-pressure it needs to be able to focus on the task at hand, but not so long that you don’t meet your deadline. Though some consider it a fault, I consider it a must-have in my superhero tool belt, as long as it’s used correctly. When it’s not, bad things can happen.
My neighborhood is filled with glorious old oak trees, which is great for me, because I’m a tree-hugger. At least I was. Unfortunately, I’ve come away from the tree-hugs with poison ivy more times than I care to remember, so I’m starting to become more of a tree-waver instead. Hiiiii treeeeee. *wave* Hiiiiiiii. Though I love them all, there’s one tree I’ve always been particularly drawn to because of a knot on the trunk, in the shape of a perfect heart. The inside of the knot is smooth and lighter in color, just begging to have an “I HEART SO-AND-SO” carved into the flesh. Since I put trees into the “living things” category along with people, animals, plants and bugs, I would never whip out a Swiss Army Knife and start slashing away to mark my presence. Instead, I thought it would be a cool idea to take a picture of the tree, and add the “carving” digitally. I had the perfect opportunity to do my heart-tree project when my friends, Donya and Rob announced a date for their wedding. Immediately, I knew that my gift was going to be a cool black and white photo with “Rob Hearts Donya” and the date of their wedding digitally “carved” into the tree.
It was the end of December, and the wedding was taking place on the first day of the new year in another state. I had all of the intentions in the world to go take that picture, and I can give you a million reasons why I kept putting it off. Holidays, holiday funk, holiday traveling, kids, animals, husbands (only one, actually) etc., etc. – finally, it was a couple of days before I had to travel for the wedding, and I still hadn’t taken the photo; let alone done any of the graphics, had it printed or framed. I finally resigned myself to the fact that the heart-tree photo wasn’t going to happen, and telling myself I would just do it after the wedding and send it late, I picked up a generic wine accessory gift box for the soon-to-be-married wine-lovers. I detest generic gifts, so my intention was to return home and get that photo completed and to their mailbox before they returned from their honeymoon. My intentions are always good. My follow-through, not-so-much.
Six months later…
Even after driving and/or walking by the heart-tree nearly-daily since the wedding, and the timing being not right or my “good” camera not being within reach, I had still not taken the photo. I certainly hadn’t forgotten about it…quite the opposite…I beat myself up every time I passed the heart-tree, but apparently my own wrath wasn’t enough motivation. The only thing that would have motivated me to do it would have been a deadline, and that was long gone with not another in sight.
I wish I could tell you that I happened upon the following carnage as I was on my way to finally take the picture, but I can’t. I was merely driving by with the timing being not right or my “good” camera not within reach and absolutely no intention of taking the photo that day. I rounded the heart-tree corner, and my mouth fell onto my chest. The heart-tree corner was now just a “corner”, with no heart-tree in sight…only a pile of sawdust where it used to lovingly stand. Gone. Gone. Gone. I couldn’t wrap my brain around the fact that it was gone.
In all of my wildest procrastinating dreams, it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be the one responsible for the demise of my heart-tree project (other than the whole procrastination thing, of course). Who could have ever known that something as permanent-feeling as an old oak tree on the corner could be there one minute and gone the next? The heart-tree was a one-of-a-kind! I never got the picture! I was devastated and completely pissed at myself, letting a few tears roll for the tree. Dammit! I loved that tree! I felt like something special had been ripped from the world.
As I was processing what I was seeing and feeling, like a bomb in my brain it suddenly occurred to me that other things that I love and think are permanent could also be here one minute and gone the next. Even I could! What an unsettling thought! Maybe I should think about that concept more in my relationships, and just in my life in general. Duh!
It was a lasting-lesson for me. Nothing is forever in the current form. Live. Live. Live. Love. Love. Love. That’s what I learned from the life and death of the heart-tree, and in its name I vow to work on that in my life!
*adds it to never-ending self-improvement-plan list*
Looking back, I think it’s kind of funny that it never occurred to me that maybe I should work on the whole procrastination thing.