Flashpoint

I swear if procrastination were an Olympic sport, I would take gold every single Games – always in a last-second victory, just under the wire, with minimal effort, based on sheer natural talent, with the only training received having come from my last performance in the Games.

The thing is, I get constant positive reinforcement.

All through middle school, high school, college, and now even my Master’s program, if something is due Sunday night at midnight and I’ve had a week to do it, you better believe I’m starting that baby, be it a five-paragraph essay or a five-page paper, most likely after 10pm on Sunday.

And like I said, I get positive reinforcement.

I never fail a paper because I put two hours of work into it. The only time I’ve gotten a poor mark on a paper was when the professor required a rough draft and then a final draft a week later. That paper was shit. It was disjointed and potentially the worst paper I’d ever written.

For one of my classes in this program, we had to do a final project/paper, I believe the paper was 8-10 pages, so pretty standard for a final paper. Due at midnight on a Saturday of course. I spent the day doing God-knows what, probably watching tv or whatever. Around 6pm, I begrudgingly got up from the couch and made my way over to the computer. After about an hour of further procrastination, I finally started. Eight pages and fifteen references later, I turned in my paper about five minutes to midnight. Got a B. I talked to a fellow classmate of mine who said he also got a B after working on it for about nineteen hours. I don’t know if I’ve ever spent nineteen hours on homework in a semester.

The problem is that I need to have one channel of thought. Like most people, my mood changes daily – I guess I should say, like most women. My opinions and ideas change daily, also, not that I’m wishy-washy. It’s just very obvious in my writing if I start and stop.

Take Fifty Shades of Grey, for example. That book is one channel of thought. One chapter ends at night and the next chapter picks up the next morning. I think that’s part of the reason it was such an easy read. The reader doesn’t really have to stop and think about what happened before, it’s right there. That’s how I would have to write a book, if ever I was to write one. And let’s be honest, I’d have to sit down and write the whole damn thing in one sitting.

I like this quality about me. As long as I have a deadline, I get things done.

This can also backfire.

Right now, I’m working on working out. And cutting calories. It’s a complete joy and I just live for it. I keep telling myself that I don’t want to go to London out-of-shape. Well, then I need to make sure that I’m in-shape before London. Right? Right. But I don’t have an actual date set… so naturally, I’m not making much progress. Too little motivation. As soon as I know exactly when I’m leaving, I’ll be able to say, okay, I have X number of weeks, gotta get a move on it.

I don’t have that impending doom. I don’t have the right amount of stress to get me moving. There’s not enough adrenaline flowing.

It’s like with my papers for school – there’s absolutely no fun in starting a paper at 1pm on a Saturday with a midnight Sunday due date, and especially no fun in starting it any earlier than that.

I’m not a skydiver, but that’s probably a good thing – I’d be the one pulling the ‘chute at the lowest possible height.

I was home sick today watching the latter half of Flashpoint season four. There’s an awesomely nerve-wracking episode in which the techie/bomb guy, Spike, has to diffuse the most sophisticated bomb he’s ever seen, and he doesn’t know exactly how long he’s got to do it. Even in the final seconds, he’s making sarcastic comments or walking his team through how he’s come up with the answer before he finally enters the right code to stop it from detonating. I have a feeling that would be me. Especially because of the sarcasm, but also because things are more exciting when there’s a time constraint.

That’s the other thing I do really well, besides sarcasm – delay. It goes hand in hand with procrastination. Even as I’m working on a paper due within the hour, I can still manage to deviate to a website, or spend precious seconds shuffling through my iTunes. Hello, I can’t write to something to which I can sing or dance. The right soundtrack is important.

Conclusion: if I’m going to do something, I need an actual deadline with some sort of imposing threat if I don’t meet it.

I mean, it’s not like they won’t let me through UK customs with a few extra pounds on me. In fact, they’ll encourage it. Gotta boost the economy somehow, right? Pounds… like British Pounds… but we use pounds for weight… get it? Punny right?

Consumed

As the titles of this blog and post state – I am consumed. But that’s just poetic for obsessed.

“I awake consumed with thoughts of you¹” sounds much better than “I’m obsessed with you.”

Already off-track.

I’m consumed, or shall we say, passionate about, journaling. I’ve journaled in physical journals since 2001 when I got one for Christmas from a friend. She doesn’t even know what kind of a monster she created. Some day when I write my novel or become a famous blogger, I’ll make sure to send her a royalty check.

Since that first journal, I’ve filled up about 15 of them. I couldn’t have started at a better time, really. In 2001, I was in middle school. Need I say more? Not particularly. I went back and read through every single journal before I started the one on which I’m currently working. Let’s just say that most of the tears were of happiness, but most of the laughter was of embarassment.

What I want to say is that, I am a total rambler as well as procrastinator. Again, needless to say, as it is evident from this post. Does it have a real direction? It’s a bit of a mystery, isn’t it? It could be exciting for you then.

Again I attempt to make my point – but that’s the thing, sometimes I never arrive at one. That’s what’s so free about journaling/blogging: it’s a release of thought, a stream of consciousness that may be neverending. And yet, it’s healing.

I like to think of journaling as a form of talking to myself. I like even more to think of talking to myself as a form of client-centered therapy. I just keep writing, internally urging myself along with implied questions, until finally my hand writes the right thing. That’s what I’m feeling, that’s why I feel this way. It’s like a less dramatic, less exciting form of House’s epiphany or Sherlock’s deduction. Yet, still just as satisfying.

For example, last May, my boyfriend came to me to let me know he was not in love with me, nor did he think he ever wanted to get married or have children. I could see that he was being conscientious, he didn’t want to waste my time because he knew that I wanted to get married and have kids; however, that didn’t make it any less difficult to swallow: I probably would have married him.

A couple months later, I was thinking about it and decided to journal – I had far too many thoughts running through my mind and just needed to put them somewhere else. After writing for ten minutes or so about what I want from love, what I want in a man, what I’ve had, what would make me happy, a wash of intelligibility came over me. I want A, I had B – why am I sad about losing something that wasn’t exactly what I want, maybe even need? Close, but not close enough. In that moment, I went from distress to elation. The obviousness was astounding, but it was like I had never thought of it that way until just then. This is what I want, so I need to focus on getting it. Hello. and duh.

Those are the situations that keep me journaling. Those are the client-centered therapy sessions that I’ll fully endorse. It’s empowering to work through such a personal problem and come out in the sunshine on the other side.

Not everyone gets it, though.

Anyway, consumed. I’m consumed with writing, and I’m also consumed with London. Growing up, I was a fan of most things British/English. The music, the humor, the cars, the people. Finally, I had my chance to visit Mother England. It has been very difficult to describe to people how at-home I felt walking those streets. It was as though I belonged there. So much so, that when I returned home, I was London-sick for about two weeks. I felt out of place in my own apartment, my own hometown. I love Omaha, but London just felt so right.

So right, that I’m in the process of applying for a visitor’s visa to go back for six months (and hopefully longer, serendipity permitting).

Part of the purpose of this blog is to document my experiences with the process. Not so much instructional as reactionary, I think. I’ve filled out the app about 95%, I’m working on getting a letter from my university that states I will continue my education online (which is what I’m doing now), and my next step will be to get a letter from my employer stating my leave of absence (likely) without pay.

My goal is to jump the pond ‘fore the end of May, this year. It’s a bit daunting, but I’m so ready to be there. Every day since I’ve been back, I’ve awoken consumed with thoughts of London, of walking the streets, of exploring, of meeting people, and of embracing the culture. If I had a crush before, it’s a full-blown, soon-to-be-requited love affair now. I wasn’t born there, but I feel it’s where I belong.

This is one thing I will not procrastinate.

¹Napoléon, who wrote to his beloved Joséphine

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