“I want to do it now, Grammy!"
Out of the mouths of babes.
During my grandson’s recent visit with us, I learned quickly to watch my words or else be prepared to switch gears in an instant. When presented with a suggestion of something to do, somewhere to go, or something good to eat, Connor is likely to jump up and shout enthusiastically “I want to do that NOW!”
I confess: I've developed a nasty habit of procrastination over the years, one that even extends to things I enjoy. Never one to make hasty decisions, I can talk myself out of doing just about anything - from housework to going to the movies. In contrast to Connor’s “Do It Now!”, my mantra is more like “Maybe tomorrow."
So it was enlightening to live with Connor’s philosophy, and his ability to quickly leave one activity behind for the prospect of another. After all, if it sounds good, why wait?
Just do it now.
Since he went back home to Texas, I’m trying to work that phrase and attitude into my own daily life. Without the impetus of concrete deadlines or assignments, with hours of uninterrupted time stretching before me, it’s ridiculously easy to put things off - especially writing. I tell myself I’ll wait until this load of laundry is finished, or after the dog’s walk, or when I get home from running errands with my mom. Just one more chapter in the book I’m reading, just one more pass through social media.
“Now” easily morphs into “Later” which all too often becomes “Never."
“Some of my worst writing days have been the ones stretched out before me in all their glory,” writer Dani Shapiro confesses in her book Still Writing. “We can promise ourselves that we’re just going to check this one email (make this bed, cook this sauce, run this errand) and before we know it we have been swept away from our work as if by a rogue wave. How can we let this happen?”
Preventing this could be as simple as embracing my grandson’s modus operandi. Taking it one step further than the ubiquitous Nike commercial which commands Just Do It, Connor ads the two words which create the positive attitude and present the impetus required: I Want...
Ah yes, desire. When you’re three years old like Connor is, desire drives every activity. Desire to play another game, to have some ice cream, to read a book. For him, every new experience holds the promise of learning something new, having fun, feeling good. Isn’t that a delightful way to spend the day?
Thus the challenge becomes to turn our “Have To Do’s” into “Want to Do’s.” To access the desire for writing (or painting or making music or sewing) that got us started in this business in the first place. To recall whatever it is about this activity that set the brain buzzing, the heart beating a little faster, that makes the minutes and hours fall away.
To WANT to do it because it makes us feel SO good - as good as a three year old feels playing a board game, eating ice cream, or curled up next to his grandmother reading Wacky Wednesday for the 10th time.
Then it will be easy to drop everything and Do It Right Now.
How about you? What do you want to do right now?