When I was young (back when the Dead Sea was still alive), one often saw a little motivational sign reading, “DO IT NOW.” Today’s teenagers wear T-shirts with a similar message, “JUST DO IT.” Although such slogans make procrastinators like me uncomfortable, we would do well advised to pay attention.
A recent experience underscored the perils of procrastination for me, so prepare yourselves for a long-winded personal narrative. A little girl name Jenny Belle Brown started first grade with me the fall of 1945. We had been born on the same day, and two little girls found it exciting to be “twins.” We were fast friends all that school year. Jenny Belle’s mother invited all the kids in town to a birthday party for both of us, a very generous gesture. She originally planned a cake for each of us. Probably because of pestering from two 6-year-olds, one of the cakes was ruined. The resourceful Mrs. Brown put six candles down each side of the remaining cake — six for Jenny Belle, six for me and twelve for my brother Joe, whose birthday was the next day.
Between first and second grade the Brown family moved to New Cambria, and I never saw Jenny Belle again. Through the years I occasionally heard something which made me believe the family still lived in New Cambria. Many years ago I started thinking it would be fun to go there someday and see if I could find her. Many factors caused some hesitation. I did not know her married name. I was not sure she would even remember me, let alone be glad to see me. Most important of all, I am a natural procrastinator. One of these days can so easily be none of these days.
When I went to Ellsworth County for my 55th high school class reunion Memorial Day weekend, I finally decided to go up a day early, go through New Cambria, and try to find Jenny Belle. I did find a couple of her cousins who told me Jenny Belle (yes, they still called her the double name) had died several years ago.
We had a bittersweet time of reminiscing about Jenny Belle, her two brothers and her parents. Every memory her cousin shared made me believe we would have still felt like “twins’ even in adulthood. Growing up surrounded by brothers and boy cousins, she had been a tomboy, as I was. She was a voracious reader, as I am. In short, I could have kicked myself for not looking her up when I first thought of doing so.
Do you have a list of things you want to do “someday”? Of course, some of them may not be possible right now because of a time crunch or a financial crunch. If you are like me, there are others you could just as well do now as later. My advice is to get off the dime and do some of the things on your “bucket list.” You aren’t getting any younger.
Having learned a little from the above experience, I did take time to go to Lindsborg for their Midsummer Festival on June 15. Although I had attended it once or twice, I think of going each year and often find reasons not to go. I enjoyed a day of street entertainment and saw several college classmates who live there.
Surprisingly, I even saw one high school classmate and his wife. Their son is now a doctor in Lindsborg, and they had come to see his little girls dance.
Old habits die hard, but I plan to try to give up procrastination, especially when it comes to pleasures rather than duties. I guess my motto will be, “Do it now, especially if it will be fun.”