Friday, December 4, 2009

The Bridge Uncrossed

A guest post from kindred spirit, Lazy Mom

Procrastination is often mentioned as if it is a bad thing which I find odd when there are so many things in life that are REALLY a waste of time...such as cleaning and thank you notes and NO ONE says one negative word about them.

Other than the thousands of hours I have saved by NOT scrubbing my kitchen floor on a regular basis or lighting scented candles or worrying about the grimy build-up of dirt on the carpet near my front door (which apparently horrifies millions of women) procrastination has also been a constant source of happiness in my life.

I learned procrastination from my parents. They loved to sit on the shady brick patio which led out to the backyard from the kitchen with their coffee and cigarettes and watch the endless array of children and animals and neighbors. The patio--with its director’s chairs and the Sunday Times spread out on the slate coffee table and the conversations about Nixon or Norman Mailer or where to buy the best panettone in the Village—was the place to be. Everyone would come by with stories to tell or projects to discuss or theories to expound on. The weekend would go by so quickly and with so little getting done.

We were not like other families. Our weekends were not for chores or church or other activities—they were for sitting and talking and eating and drinking coffee and smoking and catching up with friends. They were for seeing who could KICK the basketball into the hoop….about who could make the best volcano out of an orange juice can, some plaster of Paris and a hole in the ground. They were about making a makeshift badminton court with a volleyball net, with a mix of tennis, squash and actual badminton racquets and then having endless “world championships!!!!”

My family had made procrastination an art form and I continued the tradition not in a backyard but on the streets of the city. It was my lazy summer wanderings around NYC that led me to the man who reintroduced me to my husband who later became the father of my idle and ideally beautiful girl. See procrastination is very helpful.

The self-help gurus are missing an important point about procrastination which is that it is a gift. Procrastination is the gift of time. Procrastination is actually one step beyond the advice of don’t cross that bridge until you get to it. Procrastination is--why bother with the bridge—let’s fish on the bank and plunge into the cool river water for a swim and relax in the sun. So many things are gained when you let go of a schedule, of a time line, of too many commitments…

Coffee anyone?