Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24, 2011 ~ Day 46
Procrastination Is My Middle Name

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Buzz Lightyear and I are sitting here staring at a half-empty cardboard box. I think we may be staring each other down.

"So.... are you going to fill it?" the Space Ranger asks.

"I was thinking maybe if I stared at it long enough, the box would pack itself."

"My intergalactic wisdom tells me that is unlikely to happen."

"Can you pack this one, Buzz?"

"Negative. That would be in violation of the Space Ranger Code of Conduct."


Have you ever faced a task that seemed so daunting, you didn't want to get started at all? I am a perfectionist by nature so when I realize that a project isn't within my personal capacity to accomplish with ease, I tend to shut down. The way I see it, this project is ME vs. 2200 square feet of clothing, furniture, glassware, toys, food and supplies. Not to mention thousands of books (literally). All to be accomplished while tending to two sick children and their daddy who is also feeling under the weather.

I look around and don't even know where to get started... which in turn makes me want to go back to bed. Oh dear, it's only 2:24pm. Bedtime isn't an option.

So it's time to give myself the BIG PEP TALK full of cliches and platitudes. Here goes:

One foot in front of the other
You can do it
Just take one step at a time
Pack one item at a time
Keep moving forward
Slowly but surely, the job will get done.


Buzz and I are still staring at each other. In fact, I have only for the first time just noticed that Buzz Lightyear has bright blue eyes. Who knew!

I remember the days of being single when I could move an entire apartment by myself - just blasting loud music and singing along, enjoying every second. I even bought a truck for my first "real" vehicle (not co-owned or formerly owned by parents) just so I could haul my own possessions around without having to depend on others for help. I love moving and I think this may be the 26th? move of my life, so the procrastination isn't for lack of enthusiasm about the move itself. I love changing things up, embarking on a new adventure, getting out of my rut and starting fresh.

Packing for one is a far cry though, from packing for five. The kids and I spent an entire day on Saturday (8 hours!) just sorting toys in their toy room and doing laundry. We have more LEGOs than LEGOLAND does, I think. So far I have gotten together eight full trash bags worth of toys and clothing to give to AmVets, and yet barely made a dent in our masses of belongings. How does one family accumulate so much STUFF over the course of six short years? How did we get the mini-chopper that no longer works but continues to sit in the cabinet... and really, how is it possible that we have FOUR pack n'plays? How many portable cribs does one family really need? It isn't like we have quadruplets.

The main ingredient I'm lacking right now, along with motivation, is adrenalin.

As a lifelong procrastinator, I find it sooooo difficult to get motivated to do anything until I'm down to the wire on time. Every paper I've ever written and gotten an "A" on was put together at least in part the night before it was due. Every work project, every time I've had to get ready for a trip, all of my big transitions - all planned and implemented right at the last minute.

I am not proud of this, in fact, it is likely the reason my adrenal glands are exhausted and not working at the normal rate. A person can live only so long on no sleep and high stress before his or her body goes kaput. (Which makes me think, "Maybe instead of packing right now, I should take a nap! My adrenals would like that. I can always pack later... after all, there are two full weeks until the move!") Can you see how I am? The Queen of Best Intentions, also known as I'll Do It Later Girl.

Maybe I should make a list. Lists motivate me, because there is always something you can check off. I may be the only person on the planet who writes things down that I have already done on my list of things to do, just so I can check them off and feel like I've accomplished something. Which is, weirdly, self-motivating.

That being said, I think I hear a crying baby upstairs letting me know that naptime is rapidly ending and I will now have a mini-packing helper. Or rather, a mini-unpacking helper. When my daughter and I pack a box I have noticed that for every item I put into the box, she takes one item out of it. This is her way of helping. If I put the item back in the box that she has just removed, she bursts into tears and gets angry at me for not appreciating her help. She then takes yet another item out of the box. Sigh.

We don't have a dog, and no-one ate my homework. I know it is time to buckle down, that it is all up to me to get our family show on the road... literally. I would hate to find myself 13 days from now pulling an all-nighter to get the boxes done. That said, I'm feeling hungry. I wonder what my kids will want to eat for dinner tonight. I wonder if we need to go to the grocery store. Ice cream is sounding very appealing right now...

Packing? What packing?
(I can always do it later, right?)

Rats. I just remembered that this blog is devoted to finding the meaning in life; which implies that I can't just walk away from my boxes and procrastinating ways without searching for the meaning of it all.

So here goes:

Sometimes a quest for meaning leads us to knowing when to buckle down, while other times we have to learn how to relax and let go ~ trusting that whatever is meant to be will happen. I have the sense that if I can just let go right now and trust that the packing is going to get done on time, I will free up my own stifled energy. Maybe if my daughter and I take a short fifteen minute walk outside to get some fresh air and a new perspective, I will return home reinvigorated and ready to assemble and fill those boxes in style. After all I am a committed and responsible person at core, so one way or another the boxes are going to be filled before moving day.

Then again, maybe Buzz Lightyear will generously pack them for me while we're out walking. Here's hoping!

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