My mom used to say my epitaph should be, “If I could only do this tomorrow.”
Yes, I procrastinate, often to my physical and emotional detriment. It’s one reason I’ve enjoyed my journalism/communications career. Deadlines rule, and I function very well when I have deadlines.
Unfortunately, I seem to have passed this trait to Emma, which for her is a genetic contradiction. In so many ways, she is just like her mom — logical to a fault, careful yet generous with her time and resources, a listmaker, and far harder on herself than she should be at any given point in life.
Emma is all of those things and more, except when it comes to getting her homework done. On that, she moves at the pace of freshly captured escargot, just like her dad. The work is done, but she pushes the deadline to the last second, losing sleep and rest in the process.
Ben, on the other hand, is more like his mom on the homework thing. He makes lists in a logical pattern and knocks things off in a sequential, pre-determined order until everything is done. He starts his work when he gets home and sticks with it until he’s finished, at times to our chagrin and exasperation.
Nicholas, who is in college, is just as organized, if not more so. And then there is Kate, the person who lives day to day. If she has no homework today, then she has no homework, regardless of whether yesterday’s wasn’t done or tomorrow’s hasn’t been formally assigned yet.
“If only I could do this tomorrow.”
Genetics are the only reason I can give for why this happened. I have two boys — from different mothers, no less — who are anal retentive about homework and their assignments. On the other hand, my girls are either indifferent about time frames or, frankly, could care less.
Confused? So am I…
In all truth, I blame my mom’s side of the family for the retentive gene, which seems to have skipped at least one generation and landed squarely in the pools belonging to my sons.
My mom, as she describes it, was taught by the rule of the A. All my grandfather wanted to see was her report card. If it was anything less than straight A’s, he asked her about the B. (And, as she was quick to remind me, there was never more than one B).
Somehow I skipped the rule of B, unless it meant “boredom.” I was bored from the day I started kindergarten until the day I finished high school. The classes I found interesting weren’t hard; the tough classes were not at all interesting. In fact, the only reason I’m a writer today was because my 10th grade journalism class was supposed to be an easy A, and it gave me an excuse to talk to people.
Strange how this works, isn’t it?
What motivates you? I ask myself that question almost every day, and quite frankly, am still not sure of the answer.
My best guess is that I have an insatiable desire to chronicle and be creative. Writing and photography are ways to do both, when something catches my eye or worms its way through my ears into my brain.
Perhaps that comes from my grandmother, who kept a daily diary for more than 60 years. Or maybe it’s from my dad, an artist who dabbled in a variety of visual genres. Of course I see it in my kids and their friends, who chronicle their lives to varying degrees on social media.
Writing is how I process the big stuff — what you read here is where I am at a given moment, unable to shake what is occurring until I write it down. I’ve never found value in writing just to fill space, just like I can’t stand people who speak in meetings just to hear themselves talk. It’s not useful for anyone concerned.
Photography is my way of processing the loads of visual information I see in a creative manner. It makes me stop and look at the world, whether close up or at a distance, in a different way.
I’m still searching for ways to merge the two, which is what you see in this space.
Last month marked four years since I started blogging, and it was around that time that I began to take photos and post them to Facebook. When my job situation changed earlier this year, I wanted to merge the two while improving my online/social networking skills at the same time, hence the website and the “Daily Photo” you see here and on my Facebook photo page.
I’m not under the impression that the masses will ever flock to this place to read my words or look at my images; if anything, this attempt at consistency is one way of staving off my natural sense of procrastination. Someday, I would like to have an art show (I think my dad would be proud) or publish one of my pieces somewhere besides the web.
But as I approach 50 — I turn 49 in January — I’m finding that’s not as important as the quest for consistency. After all, why wait until tomorrow what you can do today?