Procrastination, Pain and the Best-Laid Plans


late aug 004

First, Procrastination.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a procrastinator. I put things off until the last possible moment. I let deadlines loom large. I allow energy provided by adrenaline  to drive me through the finish.

Panic would be another suitable “P” word, as I let things go sometimes until I am on the edge of nervous meltdown.

Perfectionism might be another. I read somewhere that procrastination is a direct result of having paralyzingly high standards, of knowing that even the best efforts will not be good enough. I like that idea, mainly because it sounds infinitely more flattering than other definitions.

Like lazy. Slothful. Indolent. Slow.

Whatever the cause, I have learned to work with it.

I create imaginary early deadlines to get the adrenaline pumping.

I plot for eleventh hour marathons to meet commitments.

I imagine “worst-case scenarios” and plan how to deal with it.

Mainly, I go easy on myself. Some deadlines are self-imposed and more flexible. I concentrate first on the ones that are not.

I do hate to disappoint.

These last few weeks have been an exercise in shuffling commitments, balancing activities and trying hard not to let anyone down.

Much of it is out of my control. People are leaving, plans are changing, businesses are closing for the season.

It seems that most everything is in flux right now. With five jobs to consider, I am juggling. My thoughts are swirling!

I can increase my hours at the hardware store – and must complete a couple orders and consider how the scheduling will work out and who will be filling in while I and others can’t be there – but not until after the Phragmites treatment is completed this year, and I have to arrange for time off from the hardware  during treatment, which dates have changed due to permits taking longer than expected, and for that I have to right away get copies made and papers filled out, volunteers called and transportation secured and all the “i”s dotted and “t”s crossed so that funding is secured and treatment is successful and because of the later dates, must make other arrangements to get Aunt Katie to her doctor’s visit on the mainland, and have to schedule a time this week to pack up and move my artwork from the summer gallery into my storage – which is non-existent since I haven’t had time to organize my studio – and vegetables and blackberries are ripening on the vines and need to be taken care of and – now, after a quick phone call – while I’m in town today be sure to pick up a couple bottles of household cleaner for Aunt Katie’s house so it’s there when I need it on Wednesday and deal with the two love seats still stored in her pole barn…

And all of this exacerbated by Pain.

Because, one week ago, buoyed by a day without one hundred obligations, I decided to paint the bedroom floor. That was the first step, only, in plans that included putting covers on the outlets, trim around the closets and baseboard around the perimeter of the room in order to have one room in my house finished. It was a humble goal…foiled by the fact that in carefully moving an empty bookcase a short distance, I put my back out.

Followed by visits to the Medical Center, heat therapy, ice-packs, muscle-relaxers and pain pills,  two nights of sleeping on the living room floor (that I wish I had swept more thoroughly when I was able!), one and a half days of missed work, every day walking carefully, treating myself tenderly, doing as much as possible in an ibuprofen fog, cursing myself for the things that I should have done sooner as slowly I start to feel normal again…

As for the Best-Laid Plans, well…





About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

11 responses »

  1. oy! the dreaded “pulled my back out” experience! Been there. done that and almost had a total nervous breakdown from the panic that sets in, ie., “what if it NEVER goes away!” Thankfully it does, but you know how the mind can run sprints in the wrong direction!
    Hope you are better really, really fast!

    • It is scary! I am getting better, though more slowly than I’d like. I’m still feeling it, so being very careful. I can’t imagine it never going away! It’s hard to know that there are people who live with pain constantly. Thanks, Karen, for your good wishes and understanding!

  2. Cindy, I am thinking how our minds so often label us in unflattering ways. Procrastinator, slow, lazy. Due to our early conditioning or whatever, or maybe what our mother said to us. I’m learning not to believe so many of my conditioned thoughts–although it’s darn hard. When I look at you from the outside I see someone who is following her inner muse, who lives with multiple realities, who picks and chooses according to the energy what to do next. I see an artist/spiritual being surrounded by multiple tasks who chooses from the heart which to do next. Perhaps it’s that first voice which causes/creates the pain by trying to do everything according to the mind’s dictate. Just the kind of stuff I think about these days… hugs to you.

    • Kathy, I could just weep with joy for your kind words of support! Much of what you say is exactly true…because I wanted to curl up with a book, my mother called me lazy, and I’ve always thought of myself that way. As years went by, I realized my mother would have loved fewer obligations, and time to curl up with a book, too! I also realized her label for me was incorrect. Still, it hovers…
      Thank you!

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