The call came on a Thursday afternoon a little over two years ago. My friend phoned from a hospital bed. We had not talked in a while, so naturally, our conversation was long and winding. He was as jovial as I had always known him to be since we first met many years ago during a three-month pre-university program.
I planned to visit him the following day, a Friday. I could not, so I decided to visit ‘tomorrow,’ Saturday. I arrived at exactly noon, wanting to be among the first visitors. The diminutive middle-aged nurse at the reception desk looked somber when I mentioned whom I had come to visit. In a polite and gentle voice, her big wide eyes exuding sympathy and compassion, she informed me that my friend had died early that morning. Momentarily, I was enveloped in darkness. I was in complete disbelief. I felt numb, and guilty. Shattered.
Were my arduous meetings the previous day worth the missed opportunity to spend time with my dear friend on his last day of life? My later had ended up becoming never, at least, on this side of life.
Why do we constantly put off things we know we should do? We put off making that call to find out how family or friends are doing. We put off going to see the doctor for a check up. We put off spending time with the children. We put off telling someone that we love them. We put off starting the project we decided on last year.
Sure, procrastination is a fact of life, but what makes us play for time?
- Too much to do. Yes, we do get busy, but does it have to mean loosing focus on the things that should really have our attention?
- Indecision. Do you find yourself each day having a different idea than the one you had yesterday? With so many viable ideas, you find it difficult to make up your mind on what you want, not even on such a thing as whom you would wish to marry between Suzie and Josephine.
- Afraid of the unknown. Do you sometimes sit on your novel ideas and big dreams, afraid to launch out in to the deep? They end up just as such; ideas, dreams, hopes, aspirations.
- Wanting it easy. Have you found yourself wanting quick fixes and preferring to have someone else cast your demons out in 15 minutes rather than adopt a lifestyle of daily self-discipline?
- Waiting for perfect conditions. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect systems and once in a while, things do fall apart. “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4, TLB)
Procrastination cost me the opportunity to spend time with my friend on his final day. My tomorrow never came. It still haunts me. In the long run, the decision to put off action we should take today only gives us stress, and leads to many lost opportunities. Let’s live life now.