Procrastination is my middle name. Or it would be, if I had one. Luckily for me, I don’t. If there is something that I can put away doing indefinitely, I will. And this isn’t a new characteristic that I’ve suddenly picked up, now that I’m working from home. I’ve always been so, probably for as long as I can remember. Of course back then, I didn’t know the word for it. I used to proudly say that I was "Mr. Last Minute.com", as if I was some sort of super hero. However as I grew up, I was "made" to realise the various connotations and meanings that this ‘alleged super hero name of mine' could be misconstrued as. So I set about searching the magnificent English language and found this magical word which defines a part of me - a procrastinator. Mr. Procrastinator - if I didn’t know the meaning, I would have said it sounds like a cool nick name. Ok. I digress. So as I mentioned, my procrastination in doing things (or rather not doing things in a timely fashion) has been evident to me for a really long time. Back when I was a child (I still am - at heart that is), I always waited until the end of the day to do my homework, except when my mom lovingly asked me to (read : ordered) complete it before going out to play. When the exam schedules came out, one of the things we kids always unnecessarily concerned ourselves with was “how many off-days we had before a particular exam”. I too was interested in it. But only because I wouldn’t touch my book until the day before. Ok, that’s untrue - I would touch the book, but there’d usually be a small story book tucked somewhere inside that. Again, the only exception would be when my mother would kindly sit me down to work through some tests. And it wasn’t just studies. I’d been taught from a young age that it was good manners to wash my plates and utensils after a meal. I would put them in the sink with the righteous intention of washing them later, and then forget about it, until my mom would remind me about them. Taking out the garbage had also been my responsibility, one which I'd often conveniently put away till later. Now, there’s really no harm in that, unless you have a cat around the house, who loves to go through the garbage.
Despite being given numerous talking to’s, I still continued to procrastinate. My parents finally just put it down to my “childish charm” and hoped that adolescence would teach me a thing or two about why I shouldn’t put things away for later. Alas, I’d say they didn’t have their fingers crossed tight enough. During my teenage and pre-twenty years, I was largely away from home. So needless to say, dishes piled up more frequently and garbage toppled ever so often (even without the cat). And studying was no longer just last minute, it became selective. I would often leave it, until the evening before exam. And even then, I would only learn selective topics, keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I'd studied enough to pass. As for homework and assignments, they were often hurriedly scribbled work that I’d have put together whilst on the hour-long bus journey to college. Why, I even procrastinated in (actually I prefer the phrase “waited for a reasonable period before”) asking my now-wife JP out on a date. As for the hand in marriage thing, let’s not go there. Five years into marriage and I’m not really sure if I'd even proposed to her. She may have had enough of my procrastination and decided to take the “bull by the horns”, so to speak.
Once again my parents, together with my lovely wife, hoped and prayed that marriage would make me a more responsible person. Whilst they weren’t entirely disappointed on that front, my procrastination still continued. Things that I were interested in and found enjoyable such as reading, watching TV, playing on my Xbox, cooking, movies, eating out and all other such important activities were being executed in a precise and timely manner. Why, I even started cleaning up the dishes promptly and taking out the garbage daily. But I still procrastinated about other things such paying bills, doing the laundry and other trivial household chores. Another bunch of things that I dawdled about were social commitments in general and keeping in touch with certain relatives. Plus there was Facebook and Twitter. And online games. And the Internet in general.
And then out of the blue, I became a parent.
To date, fatherhood has been my single greatest teacher. And I still have miles to go before “I sleep”. I suppose I should be a bit honest here too. I procrastinated at procreating too. Ok, that didn’t come out quite so well. (Sid, enough with the unintended innuendos!) What I meant is, we both procrastinated and dilly dallied with the decision of creating an off-spring. Me more than her, I suppose. I wasn’t sure I was ready for all that responsibility. And I’d both read and been told about the nightmares of three-hourly feeds, unearthly diaper changes and the likes. But eventually I was convinced and we had a little one. Yes, for the first few months, seven to be precise, I hardly procrastinated about anything. It was like I’d been reborn. I did everything promptly and sometimes even without being asked. Frankly it was a rather pleasant surprise to all, including me. But that’s the thing with life. Some things are just too good to be true. And eventually, as the little one grew up, I slowly started putting things off again. During my watch, diapers were left on a tad longer than they should have been, milk bottles were sterilised at the last minute and so on.
Fast forward to the present. Our little one is all of 22 months old, and as you can see from my “M for Mischief series”, he is quite a handful. As a work at home father, during my main shift of 12-6 (he goes to play school in the morning, leaving me with some time to procrastinate!), I am frequently on my feet trying to play a combination of Super Heroes from Superman jumping over tall objects to Mr. Fantastic who can extend his arms ( and other parts as required) to catch falling glass containers and plates. So there’s hardly any time for procrastination.
However you should know this about me. I am a staunch believer in the phrase “If there’s a will, there’s a way”. So eventually I always get around to doing what’s required of me, even if it’s at the last minute. Sort of like this post :)
I know some parts of the post make my parents sound like they didn’t pay proper attention to me. That is untrue. If anything, they’re guilty of paying me extra attention. Kindly refrain from confusing my procrastination with laziness. That’s not to say that I’m not lazy. That I am. My procrastination arises from the fact that I am too engrossed in doing things that I’m really interested in at a given point, that I sometimes “forget” that I pushed something else aside in the past. Finally, I know some of those lines shed really bad light on my parenting skills. Please don’t call Child Welfare. I’m a decent parent :)