Blogging From A to Z, Random Ramblings

M is for Magic Wand #atozchallenge

A Procrastinator’s Guide From A to Z

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
― Leo Tolstoy

M

M is for Magic Wand.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just wave a magic wand and fix all of our problems?

Poof!

The house is clean, the dog is washed, that pesky hole in the ozone layer is gone, and all of our dreams have come true.

I want a magic wand!  While I was attempting April’s A to Z Challenge, I had a little “Oh no!” with my left arm.  I have some carpel tunnel issues in both of my wrists, but the titanium plates in my left arm—parting gifts from breaking my arm during my horsing-around-with-actual-horses years—hasn’t helped.  Long story short, I had some painful swelling going on, limiting my ability to type/wiggle fingers/unscrew the top off of a milk jug with my left hand.  If you’ve ever had to recover from a serious injury, you soon discover that your body never mends back to its original specifications.  I still have scar tissue in my arm.  My surgeon was great, but he needed extra hardware to put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.

My left arm will never be the same as it was before my accident. How can it be?Fourteenish years ago, back when I broke my arm, it looked like I had two elbows, my injury way that bad.  Through the wonders of modern medicine, I was pieced back together.  I am a living example of Kintsugi.  My titanium plates and scar tissue are a part of my history, a reminder that EVERYTHING can change in an instant.  One moment you’re trotting along through beautiful meadows, woods, and fields…then suddenly you’re on the ground, looking at the the sky, holding your useless appendage.  One minute you’re fine, seconds later you’re wondering how you’re going to get yourself away from the wonders of nature and into a hospital!

We’ve all had occasions when we wished there was a magic wand to fix a problem or a particularly bad situation.  I keep looking for a better set of wrist guards to wear while I sleep, a better keyboard for use while I type, something ergonomic.  I don’t want to be in pain.  I want to be “normal” again.  I want to go back in time, back to a place where I could type as long as I wanted, without swelling or painful consequences.  I don’t like to have to plan ahead, to limit certain motions, to think about how I’m going to do things that other people take for granted.  I want a magic wand, fix-it-forever, kind of action.

Procrastinators want EVERYTHING to be fix-it-forever.  They want to organize a room or a drawer, and have it stay perfect.  Forever.  They want to do things once and that’s it. They lament about their problems.  “I just finished doing the laundry last week. Now, it looks like I never touched it.”  They want everything to be perfect and pain-free the first time around.  One and done!  They have a difficult time letting go or seeing things as never-ending cycles.  If things don’t happen when they think they’re supposed to, the procrastinator will give up and quit.

I struggle against my nature on a daily basis.  When my arm became swollen, I realized I wouldn’t be able to complete the A to Z Challenge the way it was planned: specific posts written on specific dates, during a specific month.  My arm was in pain.  I had to allow it to rest.  I could still do other things, like work in my garden, as long as I worked carefully, methodically.  I could do most of my other daily tasks, but I had to stay away from repetitive motions while I waited for the swelling to go down.  I elevated, iced, and took ibuprofen.  I used my time away from writing to enjoy other things.

In the past, I would have used my downtime to wallow.  I would have felt like I failed the challenge, like I was a failure.  I would have rationalized.  “If I’d planned ahead, things would have been different.”  If I can’t have a magic wand, perhaps I should have used a crystal ball?  Like there was a way to look into the future and NOT smack my arm into yonder random heavy object, RIGHT where my titanium plates are, resulting in painful swelling?  Or…perhaps I should have avoided breaking my arm in the first place!  I could have wrapped myself in Styrofoam, just to be safe.

All or nothing.

Do it perfectly or not at all.

Perfectionism clouds the procrastinator’s judgement.  “I’ve waited so long… What’s the point of doing it, now?  Why bother?”  The point is, perfection doesn’t exist!  Very few things fall into the fix-it-forever box.  You can’t always plan for every contingency.  Sometimes, all you can do is draw the best rainbow you can make with the three broken crayons life has pelted at you, and say, “Good enough!  This is, all I can do at this time, but I’m still moving forward.”

xo Juli

PS  Thank you for your support and kind words.  I sincerely appreciate all of you!

 

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22 thoughts on “M is for Magic Wand #atozchallenge”

  1. Gee, and here I thought procrastinators don’t care about what’s out of order. Hence the pleasure of procrastination. I guess what I’m learning is that procrastination is not a fun role or condition. Is that correct? Drat! A new hobby thwarted.

    Indeed, I am happy you’re doing better. You’re right, of course, about certain things not changing. I hope you’re letting that work into what need to be a new pace of activity.

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  2. I’m not a procrastinator, but I LOATHE laundry and dishes–two things that are never truly done. As soon as you’re done, a whole new pile is waiting to be cleaned. Grrr…. 😀

    I’m sorry you had to deal with the injury. I had no idea an injury could have such long lasting repercussions. Ick.

    You did do an awesome job of not wallowing. It would have been my first tendency. I might not be a procrastinator, but I did find myself typing out some of those April posts around 11:30pm and hoping I would get it out before my clock hit midnight. It’s too easy for other things to take up a day, and doing a post almost every day did get overwhelming in the last stretch.

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    1. I was hanging in there…until I wasn’t. 🙂 Ah well…hubby bought me a couple of hobby books to peruse while I was waiting for my arm to get back to “normal.” That kept me pleasantly distracted! I’ve been playing with the idea of creating a Victorian dollhouse. Every time the knees, wrists, etc flareup and bark at me, I’m reminded that my dream of one day owning a Victorian home…is NEVER going to happen! The home we live in now has a great layout, all on one floor, with a laundry room conveniently off of the kitchen. As I get older, I’m reminded that I don’t LIKE climbing up and down stairs. LOL But a doll house…can be ANYTHING I want it to be! It can have staircases, and gingerbread trim, and furniture that is NOT pet/kid friendly. There are things I can’t do they way I did before, but sometimes I think that’s forced me to be more creative than I might have been. (And maybe that’s forced me to learn a little patience, too. Although I can’t say I like THAT life lesson! 🙂 )

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      1. Oh, I love those doll houses! I’ve never had one, but they look like they’d be so much fun to have. I was about to say maybe I’d get one when the kids are grown up and out of the house, but I have a feeling I’ll be taking care of the grandchildren so not even thing. 🙂

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        1. I’ve seen tiny ones hidden inside regular objects: breadboxes, lunchboxes, hat boxes. They’ll have just enough staircase showing to give the illusion that there’s more going on that you can’t see. Perfectly sized to close up and hide when little fingers around around. 🙂

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  3. Congratulations on toiling on despite the setbacks. Do finish, even if in December 🙂 You’ll get that sense of achievement all the same. PS Have you ever tried speech recognition software? Easier on the wrists.

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  4. You could easily be talking just about me in this post. I thought it was just me, all these years. Just me that thinks things should be fixed for ever. Just me that won’t attempt to do things because I won’t be able to do it perfectly. At school I loved typing, I soon got the hang of it, shorthand though, huh, two attempts then gave up for ever. My teacher said at the time it was because I was a perfectionist and just needed to relax a little. I didn’t believe her, maybe she was right.

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    1. You are NOT alone! We’re all in this together.

      The other day, someone asked me to help them organize something and they mentioned something about us doing a good job so we NEVER have to do it again. I kept my comments to myself, but I almost laughed. There’s no such thing as organized forever…and that’s okay. (BIG sigh!) It’s taken me a LONG time to realize just how okay that is. Forever is a REALLY long time, don’t you think? Do I really want be in a forever kind of rut? I’m going to put my shoes in one spot, forever, and never leave room for change? It seems silly when I find myself wording things this way, but I have to laugh at myself! It’s good medicine.

      Yes, we perfectionist need to learn to relax. I’ve always wanted to learn shorthand. It’s a dying art. Even if you only learn shorthand “good enough,” it’s something you didn’t know before, and that’s HUGE! Plus, you never know what you might use it for. There’s stuff I use now, that I just didn’t GET back when I was in school. It’s like my mind wasn’t wired to understand the concepts. If it’s something you can use and understand later on in life, that’s what’s important, more important than a letter grade on top of a paper. I almost didn’t pass typing, when I was in school. (I think my teacher only passed me out of pity.) Now, I don’t even think about the letters when I type. It just comes naturally. But it took me a LOT of years for everything to finally click. 🙂

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      1. Oh dear, I am the kind of person who will put things in the same place for as long as I can. That’s why I hate decorating because you have to move things around and I try to do a mental map of exactly where everything was so I can put it back again exactly the way it was.

        Well I’m glad you learned to type because I’ve found all your posts on procrastination really interesting and found out things about myself that I never even realised. Hope your arm is on the mend now.

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  5. Goodness, yes, the dreaded curse of perfectionism.

    I’m sorry your injury was causing you pain. I wondered what might have happened during the challenge, but there were a few people who stopped posting also.

    I’m glad you’re feeling better at this point!

    Have you thought about software for typing like Dragon Naturally Speaking? I’ve heard it’s pretty good and is really helpful for people who can’t/won’t/hate to type.

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    1. Thanks! Someone else suggested similar software. I tried a couple of programs. Maybe it’s my voice? Maybe it’s the microphone? So far…results are so useless and the editing is so extensive, I might as well type out the whole thing. Keeping fingers crossed the technology improves. In a hurry! 🙂

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