Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent. What Gives?

Let me preface this by saying I'm not Catholic. Oh, I'm Christian, alright. But not Catholic. However, every year, I like to partake in the spirit of sacrifice during a particular period in time called Lent. I like the idea of giving up something that I might not otherwise consider going without unless it was for the Lord.

Last year, it was Facebook. The year before, I believe, it was biting my nails. Before that, chocolate. Before that meat & bread. Yeah, double whammy. And somewhere, in one of those years, it was also fast food. So on the great Lent's Eve, I find myself pondering the question, What do I give up this year.

Upon great thought, I realized that what I most want to give up, what I find most arduous to let go, is the very thing I need to put on the shelf: procrastination. Yeah. Procrastination. It's time it went buh-bye.
Procrastination had been my best friend through school, helping me write the most awesome papers during the 11th hour. I lived on the adrenaline of clock-watching whilst keyboard-drumming. It surged through my veins, giving me a jolt of energy better than any cup of coffee Starbucks has to offer. But the other side of the coin was that I, soon, couldn't live without the rush. And now that I'm out of school, deadlines diminished, taking along with them the natural high I came to need.

Oh, I've tried setting my own deadlines: by 30, I'll finish my first book; by the end of summer, I'll finish my screenplay. But self-imposed deadlines get whittled away by excuses and by the demands of life. Who am I kidding? The following cartoon clearly illustrates what the problem is.

Yes, I BLAME YOU, INTERNET! If you weren't so DARN interesting and bent on feeding my ADD, I just might get something productive done. But nooooo, you really must insist on catching my interest with stories of old people who die soon after each other or the rapist lurking behind a computer screen or a mother who foregoes cancer treatment in favor of carrying her baby full-term or Rihanna and Chris Brown getting together to make not one but TWO songs as if the world has yet forgiven those two for their public display of domestic dispute (violence). How can ANYONE get any WORK done when there is so much NEWS out there?

I digress.

I need to give up my procrastination. And looking at the next two cartoons, while searching for other relevant cartoons (instead of actually writing this post), really helped me put into perspective just how much damage and delay I've allowed procrastination to produce in my life. And why. That was one of the biggest eye-openers-- the why(s).

The other really HUGE eye-opener came through the cartoon with the old man having his epiphany of where he wants his life to go while attached to tubes in a hospital room. It doused me with a cold truth of reality: time ticks interminably. When I began this Who Am I journey nearly eight years ago, I had no idea that eight years later, I would be nearly nowhere close to the realization of my dreams. And I can only blame myself and my procrastination.

I can list all the things I SHOULD have done by now, but I won't (at risk of lowering my already fragile self-esteem-- rough year). All I can say is that I don't want to be like that cartoon; I don't want to be on my deathbed shouting, "Eureka! By Jove I've got it!" or filled with regrets like these people. So I'm forced to recall the admonishment/warning spoken to me by my dearly departed grandpa nearly eight years ago in a dream (yes, his death was the catalyst for my spiritual journey). He said, "Never settle." Until now, I've only been half-listening.

With this year's Lent sacrifice, I intend to give my full attention to those words. I won't settle for feeling the sands of time and my dreams slip through my open fingers. I'm giving up being what I was never intended to be-- a passive procrastinator. I am not my life's spectator; I am its leading lady. It's high-time I acted like it.


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