I have had a pain in my shoulder since the beginning of July. Frankly, I think it was an injury sustained during a long and intense weekend full of sports. What sport, you ask? No, it wasn't the recitation of MacBeth soliloquies (referencing the title of today's blog). It was Cornhole.
|Not me. I have better form.|
For those of you who don’t understand the intricacies of the game Cornhole, let me provide illumination. Imagine horseshoes but with bags full of corn. Instead of a post, you are aiming at an angled table with a hole in the middle. It is a little bit like a midwest version of curling.
Tossing the corn-filled bags for hours on end, day after day, I think I aggravated an onld injury I sustained in 2003 performing Bari Sax with the show Cyberjam. Some advice based on experience - avoid dancing around on stage while playing bari and not wearing a neck strap; it certainly does no favors for your rotator cuff.
Anyway, my injury isn’t the point of today’s blog. Procrastination is the point. Honestly, I have been meaning to write this blog for awhile, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. The deal with my arm is just a way to illustrate the point. When it first started hurting back in July, I figured it would go away, but it never has. I keep telling myself I should go visit a doctor and get it figured out, but I keep putting it off.
Procrastination is a skill developed during early life. I remember waiting until the last minute to take care of homework and projects as early as Middle School, although I am sure I was guilty much earlier. Teenagers cherish the opportunity to procrastinate. I experienced endless frustration with my high school students around progress report and report card time. After combing through a plethora of grades, I would interrogate my kids -
“Why is this a zero?”
“When was your project due?”
“Are you planning on turning this in!?!?!”
I am sure my teacher friends can all empathize. For me, the most frustrating and stress-inducing times as as teacher were when I had to pursue and confront students about their efforts in classes other than mine.
College doesn’t change a thing. In fact, I am convinced the freedom procrastinating students find off at University further cements their procrastinating habits. My poorest grades at UH were the result of waiting to for the last minute, not due to a lack of comprehension.
As an adult, procrastination manifests through work assignments and projects, home activities (my yard needed to be mowed a week ago), bill payments (I know I have received a few late charges on bills in the past), and any number of other things adultish activities.
Just like the pain in my shoulder is a symptom of a larger physical issue - a possible tear or strain in the muscle or ligament - procrastination in our daily lives is more a symptom of a larger internal issue - fear.
Fear of failure. Fear of acceptance. Fear of change. Fear of the unknown. Fear of "fill in the blank." Any number of fear-emotions can drive us to wait and wait and wait until we absolutely have to take care of our business or suffer the consequences. Unfortunately, when we reach the point where lateness is a possibility, we have to suddenly make sacrifices. We sacrifice quality, we incur late-charges, we lose points on our grade, etc. By choosing to wait, we actually choose the consequences of our lateness.
Procrastination is hole we fall into; we have to dig ourselves out. Would it be a surprise to you that we procrastinate finding the solution to the problem of procrastination? I know I procrastinate, but I don’t do anything about it. I have thought about solutions, but I don’t enact them. I continue with my same daily rituals because change is hard. The results would be unfamiliar. At least I know the results of procrastinating.
Right now, the result of my procrastination is that it hurts to reach across my chest to scratch my shoulder, it is uncomfortable to lay on my right shoulder when sleeping, and it is difficult to lift with my right arm. When will I do something about it? Maybe later.