27 July 2009

on Last-Minute Mornings

It's 7:06 a.m. and I've been awake for two hours and two minutes now. After propelling myself groggily out of bed and stumbling over to the coffee maker—a pot this morning, instead of a cup—I sat down in front of my computer and told myself something I haven't told myself since the end of my thesis days in college: Write, Jeanna, just effing write.

It feels like it's been forever since I've truly procrastinated. Have I been procrastinating procrastination? Before I confuse myself, I'll get to the point: why is it so damn exhilarating for me to do everything last-minute? I'm staring at a 2000 word essay here; why the hell am I staring at it on deadline morning? Shouldn't this have been done days and days ago?

Well, yes. Should being the operative word. I can think of so many "should"s when it comes to producing work last-minute, and they all, now in retrospect, make me smile. My best piece of art for 2D class was done in 15 minutes; my favorite (and final) essay for American Lit was done five hours before class started, most of it in my head while listening to the Quadrophenia album in its entirety; my senior thesis, for the year I had to work on it, wasn't essentially even started until 6 weeks before its final due date. Yet these are works that I remember, that I remember being the most proud of. Why?

With all of the college memory throwback—hell, I talked to my best UNT friend on the phone last night and relived half of my best college days anyway, might as well go all out this morning (in light of the theme of procrastination and still not getting my story written)—I remembered a website that Career Services or Academic Advancement or some department pointed us to during our first weeks of school: the CalTech Counseling Center site on Procrastination. Notice their reasons for procrastination: Avoidance, A Matter of Will, A Matter of Time, of Approach, even the Failure of Success. If you really read the list, you might find it as bogus as I do.

This website, and the countless others in the Google searchbar like it, all list the same, common factors in procrastination and a procrastinating lifestyle. The psychological evidence seems to prove beyond a theoretical doubt that putting things off is just a superficial way of putting one's self off, not giving the self enough credit to do the things the self strives to achieve. Studies show that procrastinators have to completely change their lives to make room for their last-minute habits, and that, when those habits are not psychologically dealt with, they can have physically adverse effects on things far from homework or getting to the game on time.

However, every single one of these bullshitters probably put together their respective websites last minute, forgetting the one and only thing that makes procrastination fully, truly, vividly worthwhile: the amazing caffeine buzz from the two—or five, or seven—cups, instead of one, of amazingly dark coffee and the warmth, the rush, the elation one feels inside, saying, "Hey, look at me. I did that, it's DONE, and I'm bad ass."

Ha! 24 minutes later, I can get back to music review crunch time. Let me just go pour myself another cup.

14 July 2009

on Games

I was really, really sick on Friday, and I tried to start writing a blog entry. I was watching a movie, and I heard a quote that struck me with a great conundrum. I couldn't figure out how to begin the entry, so I just started: "I'm watching this movie, and one of the main characters just said, 'Life is not a game.'"

So I started thinking: if life is not a game, then what is it? And I tried to look up quotes about life not being a game. Turns out, I found more quotes about life being a game instead of not being one. Life seems to be a game of basketball, chance, checkers, chess, cat and mouse, Chutes and Ladders, football, Life the board game, poker, roulette, soccer, tennis, volleyball, wit, and wonder. And a whole bunch of semi-famous people all had advice to offer me on how to play the game of life, and what rules I should (but don't have to) follow in order to win, albeit gracefully and with little controversy mixed in.

This, however, is where my conundrum begins to fester. According to [insert random quote attribute here], the rules of life tell me that I can't double-dribble, catch a bullet, have an Ace in the hole, go first if I'm black, set a mousetrap, roll the dice out of turn, use my hands, or let the ball drop. When I go out of bounds I have to start over, when I land on the "Go to College" space I have to pay 40 grand, and when I score no points it's "love". King me.