Do Dates: How To Confront Your Procrastination
Although I have not been formally diagnosed, I think it would be safe to say that I’m in nesting mode. For anyone who’s never nested nor observed nesting firsthand, it looks something like this: Woman with large, protruding belly begins to exhibit erratic behavior. Said woman runs around her home frantically attempting to lift, move, and organize things she ought not be touching. In some cases power tools are used (or rather misused).
It wasn’t my fault. When the cable guy installed our Internet connection years ago, he did a lousy job tacking down the wire around the perimeter of our apartment. I watched slowly, over the years, as this wire lost more and more staples, causing adults and children, alike, to get tangled up in it. Since the cable company does not consider wire dangling a valid reason to make a repair visit, it was time to take matters into my own hands.
Yes, I knew it would be months until my unborn child would be able to get anywhere near that wire on its own, but I’m eight months pregnant, and frankly there’s no stopping me. I spent most of last week trying to acquire a staple gun, but apparently not all staple guns are created equal. After borrowing two and almost borrowing a third (all of which did not do the trick), I realized I would just have to buy one myself, which I did from the local hardware store. It also turned out to be the wrong kind. With my frustration mounting and my due date getting closer, I sent my husband to Home Depot to finally procure the staple gun of my dreams, but before he left, I implored him to check with a salesperson which staple gun and staples would correctly tack down a cable wire.
My husband, though I love him dearly, is still a man, so despite the fact that he knows very little about staples or staple guns, he assured me, as he handed me the bag, that he did not need to ask for help as it was quite obvious which items he needed to buy. As it turned out, it wasn’t so obvious. Although the staples he purchsed were in fact wide enough and long enough, they were square instead of oval and didn’t quite grasp the wire correctly.
Later that night, I started shooting the not-so-ideal staples into the wall, clearly miffed that my husband had deviated from the plan. I’m not sure if it was my bending with a bad back or the fact that I was using a power tool while visibly angry, but for whatever reason, my husband stopped doing his work at the computer and quickly grabbed the staple gun from my hands, urging me to rest while he fixed the wire.
When I had done enough resting, I came out to inspect his work and noticed that there was a large bulge of wire under a table in the dining room. Seated at the computer again, my husband (from the next room), explained that he had left the bulge because there was too much wire, and it would be hidden under the table anyway. “Not so,” I thought to myself. “Anyone who looks under the table will see the bulge and a baby could get to it too.” And with that I proceded to move the table and shoot an inordinate number of staples into the wall, crawling along on my hands and knees, repeatedly missing the target. And when I say “missing the target” I mean accidentally stapling the staples into the wire instead of around it. My husband, caught up in his work, hadn’t a clue what I was up to until the Internet connection was finally severed and he caught me red-handed, or rather red-kneed and staple-gun-handed.
When he asked what exactly had possessed me to do such a thing, I tried explaining to him that with my due date getting closer and my time, pre-baby, running out, I felt this inexplicable sense of urgency to get things done no matter what. (I also blamed pregnancy hormones, because, hey, when I’m pregnant, I blame just about everything I do wrong on pregnancy hormones.)
In life, like with pregnancy, we have a due date. Unfortunately with life, though, we have no idea when it is, so we can live for many years, tricking ourselves into believing that there will always be more time to get things done. Our tasks can be as profound as taking an honest look at what we’re trying to accomplish in life or as trivial as hanging up a picture on a wall. No matter what it is though, we all can easily get caught up in good old procrastination without a deadline pushing us forward. That’s why our sages, in Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers), so wisely ask us “And if not now, when?” Meaning that we can keep pushing off until tomorrow until we don’t have another tomorrow, so we best do it now.
Though the irrationality of a nesting pregnant woman should probably be left behind, there is plenty we can learn from her urgency to accomplish. We can also learn that if one does accidentally sever one’s Internet connection, the cable company does consider it a valid reason to come out for a repair visit and will re-staple one’s badly stapled wire then.
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