When I was about a month out from my wedding, I started getting nauseous all the time.
NO, I wasn't REMOTELY pregnant (my then-fiance's and my head would have romantically exploded in unison had that been the case). But my nerves were so amped up and frayed that I had a perpetual "I just shit my pants" look in my eye and most of my days began with a general sense of nausea. I was not the breezy, laughing bride of the glossy fashion magazines. No, I was the sweaty, acid-reflux bride of The American Journal of Gastroenterology.
I can barely plan my own dinner, let alone dinner for 120 of my closest friends and family.
In an attempt to get my mind off my dad refusing to wear a tux ("I want to wear my green suit!") and my mom's friend the baker who was doing us a "favor" but refused to make a gluten free wedding cake (WTF WTF WTF???), my darling, efficient and responsible friend Liz suggested that I do something that required almost no thought.
I was hoping she'd tell me to spend the next 12 hours picking at my scalp and fingers, but instead she suggested that I address my "Thank You" cards ahead of time.
When she said this, I wanted to cry. "FUCKING THANK YOU CARDS? I HADN'T EVEN THOUGH OF THOSE..."
But instead I played it cool and thanked her for the suggestion.
"I'm totally going to do that," I think I said, then proceeded to spend the next two hours picking at my scalp and fingers. At the time I knew she was right, but I couldn't bear to think of writing more addresses.
If I've learned anything in my 30-plus years, it's that Liz is always right. LIZ, I KNOW YOU'RE CATCHING UP ON MY POSTS FOR THE WEEK, SO READ THIS: YOU ARE ALWAYS RIGHT.
Here I am almost 10 months out from my wedding date, and I haven't mailed a single "Thank You" card. Okay, that's a lie, I hand-delivered one to my boss, and mailed one to my Grandma-in-law. So that's 118 to go.
In the time it took to take this picture, I could have written a Thank You card.
It started with the elation of not only being married to the love of my life bla bla bla, BUT THE WEDDING PLANNING WAS DONE, and I wanted to treat myself to a few blissful days of non-nauseous calm. Then presents kept trickling in, so I told myself that I'd better wait til everyone had their chance to give us something. That took two months. It was for the people.
Finally, I realized somewhere along the way, that I'd rationalized to myself that writing "Thank You" cards to wedding guests was on the same timeline as giving gifts to newlyweds, so, a year. (NOTE: I just saw in the comments of a post Marianne wrote about writing "Thank You" notes
that I have a year to do it. Is this true?)
When my husband and I realized in horror that one of our older guests had PASSED AWAY since our wedding, it was time to get writing. So we did. We are. We're almost done.
This is the story of my life. I used to make an unfunny joke in college that if I were a super hero I'd be "The Procrastinator," avoiding projects with a single yawn.
It's not okay. I know it's not okay. It's rude, ungrateful, irresponsible, lazy. But as soon as I sit down to actually get something done -- like writing "Thank You" cards or doing my taxes -- my fridge reminds me that it needs to be cleaned out or my cat needs treats or that last chapter of my book beckons.
For a while I convinced myself that my free time was too precious and that I needed to spend it doing things that relaxed me and made me happy. But truth be told, I work in a pet store and I write for the interweb, so I have more free time than the average human being.
Which leads me to believe that all my free time is in fact what is hindering me. When I worked in an office 50 or more hours a week, I had no problem going to work, then going to rehearsal, then staying up til God knows when writing the book nobody will ever see. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Now I've become like Scrooge McDuck with my time, hoarding it like so many gold coins, only to tread around aimlessly in it. It feels good for a little while, but then I realize I'm drowning. But how to climb out?
It's times like this I feel enormously guilty. I know, the cards are just a "thing," those who love me still love me, and I have in many ways (emails, gifts, visits, phone calls, etc) thanked most of the individuals who attended my wedding profusely for traveling to Texas to hear me bellow, "I'M NOT MAKING A FACE!" to the photographer right before I walked down the aisle. (I thought I was using my inside voice, but judging by the laughter that rippled across my friends and family, I was not.)
I have no excuse and I fear, more than my friends and family thinking that I am a terrible person, that they are simply rolling their collective eyes and thinking, "Well, that's Louise."
This is not a way to be. On one hand I love deadlines and due dates -- every week I set deadlines for myself for my posts and appointments and stick ferociously to them. But given a sort of open-ended timeline where I won't immediately hurt anyone's feelings or the paycheck won't be delivered to my account, and I get all lackadaisical and useless. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
I know I can fix this little conundrum. It's not a DIFFICULT task. But why is so hard to fix my procrastination problem? I've gotten slightly better over the years, but every so often a big one rears it's ugly head. What is this mental block?
What's funny is, instead of writing my "Thank You" cards, I'm writing something ABOUT not writing "Thank You" cards.
So off I go. I'm going to write the cards I've piled up on my coffee table, before my cat barfs on them. I'm GOING TO MAIL THEM BY TOMORROW. Definitely by Saturday.
Does anybody else do this? Is anyone else a functional part of society who gets shit done on a regular basis but just can't get the "non-deadline" stuff done on a deadline? What's your biggest source of procrastination guilt?
I'm not the only one? Right? Right?