A friend of mine recently passed away. It was unexpected. Or, at least, I was not ready for him to go. To be fair, he had cancer. But he was fighting it. Apparently, he fell while alone at his home. He never recovered enough after that for me to communicate with him.
I keep thinking of the things I should have said to him, the lunches or shopping trips we should have had together. I wish I would have made more time for him when I was in town. Not that I didn’t make time for him; I just wish I would have spent more time. And I would have, had I known our time together was limited. Even now, it seems like I can just call him up or drive by his house. But I can’t.
All this reflection made me think about the topic of procrastination. Procrastination is really just the belief (or misconception) that we still have the time to do something later, rather than today or right now. On a micro, day-to-day level, procrastination causes us stress. If we run too close on a deadline for school or work, we get stressed out trying to get it done last minute. If we don’t leave early enough for work or a meeting, any delay in traffic causes distress.
But procrastination on a macro level is worse; it may cause us to completely miss out on something good. If we put off spending time with loved ones, they may not be around any longer. If we don’t treasure the time our children are young, they grow up and move away. Some people put off having children and then realize they are unable to be parents for one reason or another. If we wait for a good time to pursue that degree or career path, that time may never come and we will not have the chance to achieve our dreams.
I am guilty of waiting for the circumstances to be ideal to take a particular course of action. I think that if I wait for all the “stars to align” I will be taking less risk. But perhaps the opposite is true; if you hesitate too long, you risk not being able to take the course of action at all.
While hiking in the desert, which is pretty barren, I came across a little cluster of flowers. They, along with a bunch of stickers, grew out of a hollow in some rocks where, apparently, some small amount of water had accumulated. The habitat was not ideal. The water supply was scarce. The surroundings were bleak. But these little flowers went ahead and did their best. They sprouted, grew and bloomed. They are beautiful. I, too, need to go ahead and do my best to grow and bloom using the resources and circumstances at my current disposal. I should not wait for a better time or a better environment to do the things that I want to do or achieve. Nor should you.