This I Believe

Travis - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on October 7, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: carpe diem

I suffer an illogical belief: I believe there is always more time. I am a procrastinator. This does not make me a villain, but it means I can never be the hero. I worry I will be on my death bed before I’m finally ready to do what I’ve put off. Forgiving, saying I’m sorry, following a dream, telling the truth, speaking to my estranged father – these are hard things to do. Things I’ll do tomorrow; forever tomorrow. There’s still more time.

I know the moment I learned the concept of procrastination. A friend and I were playing in my room. He was two years older than I; wise and experienced through my five year old eyes. As we played, the toys piled up. Normally, I was only allowed a few toys out at a time, but my mother was busy and the bedroom door shut. When we tired of playing in my room, we decided to go ride our bikes. He gave me the funniest look when I told him I couldn’t come out until I put the toys away.

“Under the bed,” he proclaimed.

Something so simple, couldn’t work. Skeptical, I told him my mom would look there. He assured me she wouldn’t; his mom never did. That was enough for impressionable me; I was convinced. As we made our way outside, my mom asked if I had put away my toys. I promised her I had. It’s the first memory I have of consciously lying.

My bike ride didn’t last long. My mother had known. As she called me in I knew why, yet still I asked her, “what?”

Suffice to say I was punished for lying and not doing what I ought to. My friend was never allowed to come over again. My mom wanted to separate me from this bad influence, but it was too late. I had already been exposed to a new way of thinking. Even though we failed, the idea of, “I’ll do it later,” had not been lost on me.

For the next 25 years, my life would be a series of delays. I put things on hold, trading passion for survival; a product of my disciple-like faith in there being more time.

As I turn 30, I’m realizing time is dwindling. I learn to account for the tragic: accidents, unforeseen ends, never getting a chance to say goodbye, crying at the funeral of someone I wish I’d known better. I now consider my own end? How much time is left?

I’m deciding to believe there isn’t more time. 30 years of philosophy fights me at every step. I’m fighting my temptation to shove the toys under the bed. I’ve returned to college. Passing classes is easy, but I don’t have time left to just pass. I have to stand out. I have to make up for a life of waiting. I believe there is still time.