I Believe in Procrastination

Nina - Palatine, Illinois
Entered on May 19, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in procrastination. The good kind. The kind that makes me get other things done as opposed to what I’m actually supposed to be doing. I recently found the time to reorganize my closet, something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now, instead of writing this very essay. No offense NPR, but I wouldn’t have written to you had my hack of an English teacher, in his infinite wisdom, not forced this upon me. And now here I am, at the tender age of 18, about to embark on the world, and I don’t know what I believe in. So, like I said, I believe in procrastination. I’ll figure out later what I believe in, I’ll just put it off for now. There’s always the easy ones, the ones everyone believes in. Like family, and friendship, and The Little Engine That Could. Don’t get me wrong, those are fantastic, and I do believe in them, but I know I believe in something more. I believe in something with a world-view and a compassionate heart, but I’m not sure what exactly that encompasses. I know youth is fleeting, that I won’t be 18 forever and that eventually, I have to choose something concrete to believe in. I have to choose definite roadblocks so I know which exits not to take. But I guess that is why being young is so addictive, why everyone wishes they were still young, why people of means pay thousands to look youthful: I get to procrastinate. I get to pretend I have infinite amount so time. I get to wait a little while before I declare my personal manifesto. And I get to be wrong. I know everyone gets to be wrong, youth don’t have some sort of monopoly in this area, but I get to be wrong and I get to not care. I see people in my life who, as they grow older, become inflexible and brittle. They’ve taken what they chose to believe in, and they’ve carved it into stone footprints to follow. But I still get to choose those beliefs, I still get to carve my footprints in clay and reshape them as I go. And being wrong about certain things is the trademark missteps that my age bracket is famous for. How do I learn from my mistakes if I don’t make any? And maybe procrastinating is wrong, but what the hell, I choose to believe in it now and potentially be wrong about it later. Uncertainty has always been a close companion of Change. So as long as I’m unsure about my beliefs, as long as there is just a little bit of wiggle room, I’ll always be able to change them. People treat beliefs as if they were immobile and solid and completely constant. But I prefer for my beliefs to change as I do. Give me a call in five, ten years and I’ll tell you what my world view-finder is looking at and I’ll tell you exactly which exits I’ve chosen not to take. Then call me ten years after that and I guarantee I’ll be wrong about some of the things I told you then, that I’m telling you now. But, hey, I guess that’s the beauty of being young and, in the future, young at heart.