During various summer camps, retreats, and first days of school, I almost always encountered that basic icebreaker question: does anyone have any special talents? Usually, this question would trigger my ever-ready anxiety as I struggled to think of something, anything I was good at. Finally, by 10th grade I had had enough of being talent-less and carved out two hours in my busy schedule to teach myself how to say the ABC’s backwards. From that point on, I was officially a Talented Person and icebreakers no longer scared me as much as they used to. However, as my slightly annoying boss pointed out today, I actually have a different talent that I’ve been using for almost my whole life. Turns out, I excel at making excuses.
His exact words? “You know, you always have an excuse for everything, don’t you.” At first, my Italian pride was super offended and I swore he was full of shit. But then I had one of those movie flashback moments and enough examples popped into my head that I had to admit he had a point. It’s true I always had a story ready for everything. Whether it was broken lamps, late assignments, missing permission slips, drink refills I forgot to get my tables, I was always able to explain why even though it was kinda my fault it wasn’t really my fault because *insert excuse here*. When it comes to getting in trouble or avoiding responsibility at work, this talent of mine can be pretty useful. However, when it comes to being self-motivated and disciplined my talent soon becomes a crutch.
Take this blog for example. For starters, it took almost a full year of not really producing any new material for me to finally stop making excuses and actually commit to writing something every day. Well, I guess you can’t really judge my commitment by the fact that I’ve written a whole one post but even just getting to this point has been a mess. I had the idea about five days ago but didn’t act on it because I was traveling, and then I had TV to catch up on and friends to see plus Rory needed her cage cleaned. Then yesterday I finally sat down, signed up for this lovely website, and spent a solid ten minutes thinking of what title I wanted. Originally I had planned to write my first post yesterday, but then I realized why start on a Sunday when you can start on a Monday. Monday’s are perfect for new beginnings. So I delayed. Today I got done work and opened my laptop to start writing, finally. But then it became obvious that I couldn’t possibly start my first post until I had found the perfect theme, cover photo, and font, not to mention an informative and witty About Me section. And then Grandma wanted a snack, and then it was basically dinner time. Finally, around 8:00 I sat down truly, finally ready to write. It is now exactly 9:49 and during the time it took to type these three short paragraphs I have procrastinated and taken enough breaks to accomplish the following: playing 3 rounds on Words with Friends, make breakfast plans for Friday morning, checking my stocks, have a conversation with Mum about why salad isn’t actually a meal, refill my birth control, lose Rory in the coat closet, and stand up to refill my water bottle 3 times. Yowza.
So this, my friends…this long, rambling, probably utterly boring piece of prose is actually much more than just the first of 365 posts about my life. This is the first small, yet somehow extremely long and drawn out, step towards a more productive life as a human and a writer with less excuses and more self-discipline. Kinda impressive, right?
And on that note it is finally time to watch some America’s Next Top Model reruns and have another slice of pie to congratulate myself on my extreme focus.