Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Stall Tactics

Image of my proposed back shoulder tattoo.

I have always preferred to work under deadline pressure.  I find that I can be most focused and most productive when time is short.  This is not the recipe for success that I preach to my children, but for me, it has worked to some degree.  I cranked out quite a few medium quality term papers in a 24 hour period in my day.  That Smith-Corona was smoking, baby!  Therefore, it is not surprising that I am approaching my upcoming 50th birthday with the same sense of comfortable procrastination followed by a rush of irrational urgency that guided me through higher education.  I have so much to do before the big day and so little time.  But, as I said, I work better that way.

Procrastination followed by intense bursts of productivity doesn’t always work.  Some life projects take time to mature and bear fruit.  I wanted to run a marathon, but that took 6 months of training.  I wanted to see New Hampshire during primary season, and that took 8 months of planning.  I wanted to write a book, and that took…wait, there’s a Twilight Zone marathon on cable.  I’ll get to the book later.  Not everything can get done in 2 weeks, no matter how much coffee I drink.

So I have a campaign, a personal campaign that I dubbed 50 for 50.  February 13th marked the countdown to 50 days before I hit, reach, achieve, turn the tender age of 50.  It feels like the halfway mark, it sounds like the halfway mark, but short of amazing medical breakthroughs, I recognize deep down that halfway might have been a few years ago.  No matter.  I plow ahead with eternal optimism and whatever remaining energy and enthusiasm I can muster.  The plan was to complete 50 tasks before my birthday, one thing each day.  Very doable.

50 for 50 should not be confused with a Bucket List.  Bucket lists should have more ambitious menu items, like bungee jumping over the Snake River, tipping a cow, or streaking at a major league baseball game (just to get tasered).  My 50 for 50 plans were more modest as fitting my advanced age and rational demeanor.  Unfortunately, my plans were not modest enough.

Today, I decided to rename my plan 50(ish) within 13. 
As you may have guessed, I chose the more comfortable path of procrastination instead.  So now I have less than 2 weeks to finish up a few projects.  I need to paint the basement.  I need to establish all of my monthly bills for electronic bill payment.  I need to exercise every day for 24 hours each day to replace my custom designed, beer inspired six pack with a standard issue underwear model six pack.  I need to get arrested once for an act of civil disobedience and I need to finally get that Devo tattoo.  Painting the basement will be tough, but I am confident about the rest.

No worries.  I got this.  If I can write a term paper on a manual typewriter without notes or research in 12 collegiate hours of caffeine induced haze, I can do these things.  After all, I’ve got plenty of time. 
49 and 352/365th is the new 49 315/365th.

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