Self-Made Boundaries

I think I’m a reasonable person. At least most of the time. But still, pretty often I find myself doing a very strange thing. I procrastinate.

I know what I like to do and why. I know what goal I want to achieve and what exactly I have to do to get there. But I don’t do it. I used to look for excuses, like, I have no time, I am not ready, I need to learn more about how to do it… Now I know it is all crap. These all are made-up reasons not to do what I have decided to do. So I don’t look for an excuse anymore. I just don’t do anything. Yep, as simple as that. I don’t even promise myself I’ll start next Monday. I know so well that Monday will come and go, and I won’t move a finger.

I believe every psychological issue has a root, and there’s no sense to try to fix yourself until you find this root, the seed that caused the whole problem. Looking for this seed, I have read so many articles explaining reasons for procrastination. They all make sense, but something is missing. I understand why people procrastinate, in general; I understand it, really, but I can’t apply this knowledge to change my own route, my personal approach. All those ready answers, like fear of failure or fear of success, don’t help; they don’t seem to be right or personal enough to explain what forces me to sabotage my own plans when I have developed a step-by-step strategy and a strict schedule. Am I that lazy or don’t I care enough? Maybe my goals are not really mine? Maybe I’m nuts and ask too many absurd questions?

“My doctor told me I shouldn’t work out until I’m in better shape.” This is my vicious circle. Thank you, Steven Wright, for putting it in words for me. I can’t start changing until something changes, who knows how and when.

Can it be that procrastination is my destiny and all I have to do is surrender? I think it can be, especially if I choose Steven Wright as my best adviser. “I bought some batteries, but they weren’t included.” Yeah, exactly, I know what he’s talking about.

 

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Burnt Match

Image Credit: Januz Miralles

Image Credit: Januz Miralles

Matt arrived late. When he entered the church it was already crowded. Numerous colleagues and students sat on the benches and looked at the coffin where the Dean lay. Matt breathed in thick air and felt overwhelmed with the suffocating vibe of death. He made a hasty step to leave but then changed his mind and only loosened his tie. He leaned against the wall near the entrance door and looked at the widow. As always, he couldn’t take his eyes off her face.

Wrapped in a long black dress that accentuated thinness of her body, she seemed more fragile than ever. Her red curly locks, which usually hung loose to her shoulders, were now hidden under the strict black hat. Her stiff, straight posture and a slight tilt of the head made her look like a burnt match. She stood near the coffin and shook hands with people that kept coming over to her to express their condolences.

“She doesn’t hear them,” Matt watched her force a mechanical nod. “She doesn’t see them. She’s barely there.”

Last time Matt saw her at the Dean’s birthday party. She laughed at her husband’s awkward jokes holding onto his shoulder, and the flame of her hair danced along the rhythm of her laughter. Matt chuckled too, not able to resist her contagious joy.

“What does she see in him?” Matt looked at the Dean’s bald head. “His thick glasses? His false teeth?”

“Well, it’s not fair,” he said to himself. “He’s not so old to have false teeth. But he’s too old for her.”

Now he was too dead. Matt looked at the corpse in the coffin. There were no glasses on the Dean’s nose; and he didn’t smile to show his horse teeth. He looked calm and secure as if he knew that, even dead, he still owned her, as if he was sure that now, leaving this world, he would take all her warmth and brightness with him so that she could never look at anyone else the way she used to look at him.

Matt wanted to come up to her and look into her eyes and say something nice and encouraging. He wanted to try and erase the lines of pain destroying the beauty of her pale face. But he kept standing next to the wall. He was afraid to meet the dark emptiness of her look which replaced lively sparkles that had always flicked in her smiley eyes. For the first time he didn’t want her to know he was there.

He left the church, not waiting till the end of the ceremony. She won’t notice anyway. She won’t care. He had always been in the shadow of her love for another man. Now, he will stay in the shadow of this man’s death.

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

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No Time To Think

centipede

Life is too short to think too much.

When I start thinking about something too seriously I stop acting. I become an alive illustration of an old story about the centipede that decided to figure out which of his legs should go first, and after that he couldn’t make a step. My portrait exactly. When I plan something too carefully I get paralyzed by the amount of details I have to work through and by fear to make an unforgivable mistake. So I don’t move at all.

Knowing that about myself, I try not to overthink things but act right away. Plunge in and see what happens. It probably won’t work for everyone, but I have to adopt this motto. If not, my short life will end up in infinite hesitation and pondering, “Which way is it better to do?”

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Odd Memory

As a kid, I had a very strange reaction to the news of death. When I heard that somebody had died I wanted to laugh, and my lips created a creepy grin that shocked me, myself, infinitely. I knew it was wrong to smile, but I couldn’t help it, I felt like laughing.

First time it happened when I was in the second grade. The teacher entered the class and stood at the blackboard. Some boys in the back of the room didn’t notice her and kept giggling over some stupid joke one of them had made.

“Who can laugh on such a tragic day!” the teacher suddenly yelled. The boys in the back of the room got quiet, and the rest of us looked up at the teacher in silent surprise. “Don’t you know that a member of the government died last night?”

I didn’t. But when I heard it I wanted to laugh. I didn’t know why, it wasn’t funny, and the teacher’s angry face looked scary, but my mouth betrayed me and started creating a smile. I bit my lip and lowered my head to hide my face so that nobody could see it and think that I can laugh on such a tragic day.

The teacher decided that I was deeply moved by the sad news. She came up to me and stroke my head. That was tough: I wanted to laugh even harder.

Years passed. I don’t smile at the news of death anymore. On the contrary, I get upset when people I love leave this world. But when I think of that day when the member of the government died I still can’t imagine what was in the teacher’s head and why she expected small kids to care about some total stranger’s destiny.

 

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My Two Cents

Today is Blog Action Day and everyone discusses inequality. I guess I can add my two cents.

I believe we all are not equal to each other. And I’m not only talking about social differences like economical status of your family or your race, ethnicity, religion, gender etc. These characteristics are obvious, but to me, they don’t really matter because they don’t describe a person behind all those social labels. I truly don’t care about them, but I believe in inequality although I see it from a different perspective.

Inequality makes life interesting. We are not equal. And when I say that I mean we all, from the very beginning of our lives, are given different abilities. Some of us are extremely talented in mathematics while others are totally hopeless in adding three to one. Some are born athletes and others can’t grab a ping-pong racket properly. Some paint from childhood and grow up into great artists and others never learn how to draw a simple line. We are not equal. But is it bad? Not at all.

Inequality makes us different, and this is a wonderful thing. If we all were the same, if we looked the same physically and had the same pack of skills we would want to do the same, we would have one profession for all of us and we all would have to live the same life. It’s hard to imagine a society made of mathematicians or athletes only, but that’s how it would be. We would be a planet of multiple and extremely boring twins. Who needs that? Nobody. Such a monolithic society would never survive.

Inequality has another side that’s called uniqueness. If you are not able to do something that others do so easily and you envy them day and night it still doesn’t mean you are worse than those ‘lucky’ ones. It just means you have your talent hidden in another place. And if you cling to the idea that you are not equal to those who can do something you can’t you will never give yourself a chance to find out what makes you different, what makes you unique and special.

So I would say don’t care about being similar or equal to somebody else in anything, from social status to everyday habits. Find what is unique about you, what you have that nobody else has, and your inequality to others won’t ever bother you at all.

 

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Twenty-Four Are Enough

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When people say, “I wish I had time for this or that,” it usually means they don’t really want to do this or that. Yes, time given to us is limited, and every day contains only 24 hours, no more, no less. But the way we use these hours shows what really matters to us and what doesn’t.

When I don’t find time for something it’s because I am not interested enough to squeeze it in, and even if another hour or two were added to every day of my life I would still spend them doing something else. I would choose to do what I love, not what I claim to love.

Many years ago, when I studied at the university, one of the professors told us about a scientist whose name I unfortunately forgot (but it’s still a true story). That man never lost a minute of his life. If he had to spend fifteen minutes on a bus he would open a French vocabulary to learn some new words. If he had to stand in line in the post office he would read a book about insects (he was a physicist, but flies and cockroaches were a sphere of his interests too). When he had five minutes or even one, he always used it for some meaningful purpose, he read, wrote, studied and so on. And, as a result, he achieved a lot in many different areas of human knowledge.

The professor told us about this scientist to impress and force us to follow his example, to read and learn and improve ourselves nonstop, every minute of our lives. I don’t know if anyone took it the way the professor expected. Many students decided the scientist was just a cuckoo, and nobody expressed a wish to follow his steps. I was intrigued by the idea of not losing time and convinced that 24 hours can be used in a very productive way. But come on, do you really want to live like this, keeping a textbook in every pocket? I don’t. You can add a hundred hours to every day, and I still won’t find time for so much learning because no matter how I claim I want to know everything the truth is I don’t really care.

Twenty-four hours are enough for everything I do, now, today, in my life. And when I don’t do something it’s not because ‘I don’t have time’. It’s just because I don’t really want to and I need to have a solid excuse.

 

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When It’s Time to Talk…

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The more the merrier, they say. But I’m not sure they’re right. The more the noisier, that is a fact. When a big joyous group gathers around the table and every its member talks at the same time, impatiently interrupting others or simply not listening to anyone but themselves, that is fun, maybe, but surely it’s not a conversation. It’s a polyphonic or rather cacophonic concert for a well-trained ear. I witness this once in a while when it’s time to celebrate someone’s birthday.

l prefer more intimate meetings when in a small circle, over a cup of tea, you can discuss for hours whatever it is the area of your interests, from the latest fashion news to the nuances of semantic difference between comma and semicolon. Believe me, the latter can happen. I even remember that I myself talked about it once.

Inner monologues are also a good example of informative pastime although they are not a conversation, technically. They are pure rambling and blabbering (this post is not an exception). And what else could they be if there’s nobody to interrupt you or object to your flawless arguments? You are always right when you talk to yourself. And you are also the best listener ever because you wholeheartedly agree with yourself, no matter what. And if suddenly you hear another voice inside you that has doubts about something you have just thought it means a monologue turned into a dialogue, your mind is split and you are a bit of schizo. It’s probably time to visit a shrink, or two. The more the merrier. Or that’s what they say.

 

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