“Procrastination has become its own solution – a tool I can use to push myself so close to disaster that I become terrified and flee toward success.”
So says Allie Brosh, author and artist behind the brilliant Hyperbole and a Half (expect more quotes; I got the book for Christmas this year) – and she’s right. She’s talking about herself, obviously, but I can strongly identify with this approach. Even more so today, when I’m not actually in my own flat yet, and so I can’t fall back on my usual procrastination pyramid to avoid working on the Problem Story First Draft that I still need to finish. But the deadline is too far away for me to panic up a work of astounding genius (nothing less will do).
I tried procrastinating earlier by starting a memoir thing for a memoir writing competition – but honestly, it’s too early in the year to start delving into my past and trying to make it sound interesting. That way moodiness lies (‘I’m so boring! Waaaah!’).
So I took the pooches out for a run in the hills, which actually turned into a run in the puddles – through the middle of them, to be more precise. And it was closer to skiing than running because while I usually have decent control over the dogs (bellowing LEFT! RIGHT! STOP! works quite well), when we’re faced with a straight and relatively clear path, and they’re picking up speed and don’t care about the depth of the water they’re ploughing through, well, then I just brace myself and try to keep up.
Although today I ran into a lady who informed me that she couldn’t move off the railway bridge she was stood on with her dog until the dog had seen a train go past: “She just won’t move until she’s seen one.” This was a small dog of the ‘pick it up if it won’t move’ variety. So that makes me feel better about coming home covered thigh-high in mud.
Anyway. The point being that the only way to procrastinate (apart from spending umpteen useless hours on facebook and so forth which I’ve, erm, already done) now is to keep writing stuff. So you’re getting an early bit of blogging in an effort to avoid the difficult writing and to acknowledge that the New Year has finally begun.
So far it feels mostly like the old one, which is fine by me. I’ve not made any resolutions except one (visit The Biscuit Factory climbing wall just to see what it’s like). I was already working on everything else that might have been resolution before December rolled in in all its rainy, cloudy, windy glory.
I’ve seen a lot of people not just waving off 2013, but kicking it out on its arse with admonishments that it was never welcome in the first place and they never want to so much as hear it mentioned again. There have been more people glad to see the back of it than not.
I don’t think the ticking over from a 3 to a 4 really has any effect, other than to give many people a few days break to sit back and bemoan/enjoy what’s gone before and plan how to make things a bit better. I by no means want to belittle the people who, for instance, lost their homes or jobs, or are currently dealing with severe flooding (for example). But the change in date doesn’t mean those things are over. It’s the same old life with the same good stuff and bad stuff. January 1st just gives you the chance to take a deep breath before you wade back into it.
On a personal level, this year did have some fairly horrible parts. At times, things were difficult and horrendous and very sad and all the other things that happen when people are ill, or fight, or die. But those events were a small part of a long year. There were other, better things happening. New places to see, greater achievements, lovelier people. The bad stuff is no bigger than the good stuff, and I’m choosing to focus on the parts that are making me happy. Bad things can be changed or endured. If they must be endured, then they are background noise at most.
In part, writing here every week probably helps, because it helps highlight all the good stuff and diminishes the bad. Also I’m still riding quite high on a good Christmas, and running through fields, and the buzz that comes with getting my writing mojo back and the extra buzz that comes from doing the other stuff I love and hearing from the people I love. I’m sat on a sofa, with a cup of tea. The (currently pretty chubby – they have been utterly spoilt by the in-laws) dogs are asleep all over the carpet. My notebooks are filled with lists and ideas for the future, and I’ve got that brilliantly certain feeling that all those plans will work out. Yep, that feeling you have when nothing’s yet rocked the boat and hell, if the boat rocks, I can swim. That feeling. Life’s good.