Self-sabotage. Something I fail to comprehend the purpose of. It just won’t add up in my head. Why would I intentionally hold myself back? And if unconsciously done, then I am even farther away from reaching the core of the problem. The problem that is procrastination – or what we, seniors, prefer to disguise as “senioritis.”
Like Abraham Lincoln said, “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” However, wishful thinking convinces us otherwise.
With procrastination come excuses. Excuses on every level – whether they are “I was busy watching four seasons of Breaking Bad on Netflix,” “I’m already accepted to college” or simply writing this column – they seemed more important at the moment than studying for my AP test. And with excuses comes the possibility of an escape – one that we seize at every available moment. But with escapes, there is always a catch.
Since I failed to practice for my dance performance until the weekend before, I was forced to abandon my standards and sacrifice my perfectionism. It didn’t matter how much I practiced the weekend before. As I scrambled to memorize the routine, I surrendered the time for fine-tuning and adding the simple, yet stirring facial expressions or graceful head tilts that had the potential of transforming my performance from mediocre to memorable.
Procrastination is the epitome of settling – settling for mediocre because there isn’t time for it to progress into anything better.
I go through this cycle almost every day and waking up the next morning is almost unbearable because I see how my actions reflect on me. How they destroy me. How they only fill me with guilt. Guilt that I am the one to blame for my own disillusionment.
Through procrastination, I manage to not only self-sabotage, but I dig a deeper hole of self-deprecation too.
Every time I watch the video of my dance performance, I only see every head tilt I overlooked, every hand gesture lacking strength and grace and every story I did not evocatively or accurately portray through my expressions. All because I made the mistake of procrastinating.
It starts off with something trivial and harmless like a quick five question worksheet, so we let it pass without thinking twice. But in no time, it turns into a life-changing law school assignment. Soon, we find ourselves doing everything last minute regardless of its importance. Because now it is instinctive and seemingly inevitable. We don’t know how to do anything any other way, so we quickly accept that this is our fate. We don’t even question it, or fight to change it.
In a way, we are saying that we don’t want to see ourselves succeed. That we don’t believe we can.
I am not going to pretend like I have found the cure to this epidemic. But I am going to condemn procrastination for manipulating us into thinking that this is our only choice. There is always another choice, and we should start making the right one.
We aren’t going to wake up one day and become ideal planners. And planning to become a good planner isn’t going to do the trick either. We have to take a step forward and walk before we run, rather than standing behind the court lines, watching ourselves fall into the trap again. Realizing that we are not helpless and we have not already succumbed to its detrimental ways.
The only way we can defeat procrastination is by changing the mindset that this is who we are. No, it is not. I am not a dancer, daughter and procrastinator, and neither are you. It doesn’t categorize you. As long as you don’t allow it to.
You have the choice to push through senioritis and your biggest aversions. To fight for who you are, by destroying what is destroying you.