*This post was written during ChicagoNow’s Blogapalooz-Hour for February 2016. During Blogapalooz we are given a prompt and we have one hour to post. This is today’s prompt:“Write about a habit or routine of yours that you would either like to break or that you hope never ends.”
As contradictory as these two habits are, I am guilty of both: I overschedule myself (and my poor family), and I procrastinate, which is a very, very bad mix. You see? I am here, blogging, while I should be grading exams.
As it is, they didn’t start at the same time, and they are not even related. I have always been a procrastinator, studying for exams the night before, writing all my papers on finals week… For many years, this didn’t yield particularly good results, and that was reflected in my high school grades. By the time I got to college, and later on to graduate school, I had perfected it and it never caused any problems. It was a matter of literally living on coffee, sometimes alternated with Coke (the legal kind), so I could write overnight. To this day, I haven’t found anything that matches the high I got during that week, the level of adrenaline that kept me going.
In a way, I still take advantage of any chance I have to get that rush again: I have finished a translation project in the delivery room during labor, I have put together a crib days before one of my babies was born, I pack our suitcases the night before the flight, and sometimes have no other choice but to grade in a hurry. Just for the kicks.
Age and life with three kids are starting to take a toll. The adrenaline rush is followed by exhaustion. When I was a college student I had all the time in the world to sleep afterwards. Not so much anymore. But as much as I rationally see how good it would be to break this habit, I still like the feeling of living a bit on the edge. Since I cannot find it anywhere else anymore, deadlines are the only place left where I can get a high. So I will keep putting off quitting.
The habit that I would actually like to break is overscheduling. I think it would help with the procrastinating. If I didn’t have so many things to do, I would have more time for the things that I actually have to do, or the ones that I actually want to do. And I would have a much happier husband. We have gone to birthdays in opposite sides of the city on the same day. I used to sign up to be room mother for both of my school aged kids classrooms… in different schools. I want to attend every party, every meeting, every concert. I want to watch movies, read books, check out restaurants and dance. All of it while cooking an elaborate meal. I want to have the life of a single girl with three kids and a husband under my roof.
Saying it is easier than doing it. With one special needs kid, four afternoons a week are taken by therapies. The one left is for swimming, because you never know when my kids are going to push each other into a pool. The only time left to work, or write, or do something productive are nights and weekends. In a perfect world, I would clear our schedule on weekends to do all that. But the world is not perfect, as any parent knows, and kids come with a busy social live and no instructions on how to manage it.
In the last couple of months I think that I have gotten better at saying no. Slightly, at least. But my instinct is still to join any good plan put in front of me. Or any writing challenge. And that will have to do for now.
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