Putting things off

So, yesterday morning I was sitting at my desk. The babies had all been fed and my breakfast was eaten and I looked at my coffee.

I thought about whether I should journey out with it then or leave it until tomorrow. The deciding factor was that it was really only 5:20, so time was very much in favor of me getting somewhere to catch twilight.

Camera and coffee beside me, I was on the road by 5:30 heading in a general west direction.

I hadn’t really decided where but I knew the skies were clear overhead, so it didn’t really matter where, as long as there was a body of water that would give me some reflection in the images.

The other guiding factor was that I needed to get home in time to watch my Wolves play Aston Villa in an early game on TV. So, that kind of boundaried my travel into the general Tampa Bay or St Pete area.

By the time I hit the interstate, I decided on the Gandy Bridge, which is one of the lower bridges across the bay. I saw on the maps app that there was a spot where people could launch canoes on the west side of the bridge, so I figured that would give me access to be able to shoot eastward and hopefully get some of the bridge in the shots.

The bridge is pretty much east-west, so I had difficulty imagining which side of the bridge would give me view of the brightening skies and for a while after I arrived there, I was none the wiser. It was too dark.

So I bounced a bit from the north side to the south side trying to get some shots before finally settling on the south side of it.

The upshot is that the north side had a better land mass to shoot from, but most of the coloring seemed to be more visible from the south side. As I walked away from the road, deeper into a tree line, I wished I had brought my Glock. Because it was almost pitch black in there and I had no idea who or what I might encounter. So, in all honesty it wasn’t very comfortable.

Then when I did go onto the south side of the bridge, I was walking (slowly) across wet rocks and mushy sand in order to be able to get a decent angle to shoot from. I heard voices nearby but I didn’t see anyone.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the shots at the end of the blog. Despite the fact that it was a mostly clear sky, they turned out decent and I even got to visit with a lovely Great Blue Heron who walked up to within six feet of me and we had a chat. Well, I say “we” but it was pretty much all me doing the talking. He was just looking at me in that “don’t you disturb the fish” type of way.

It was really this morning, that the thought for the blog occurred to me. Yesterday’s thoughts while driving home were more focused on my lack of respect for my own safety and risking another broken wrist on some wet rocks in the dark.

But this morning, I checked the weather and there is dense cloud over me for the next several hours, so I was glad I hadn’t put it off.

And that is how “putting it off” became today’s blog thought.

You see, we humans have an innate defect in making decisions or taking action. We often will just defer a decision or a course of action until sometime in the future and in most situations, this deferment is simply us being lazy.

The sad part about that is that putting things off is almost never a better position to do something. We either create a new time pressure associated with our decision or sometimes we even leave it too late to accomplish what we want.

There are many phrases out there that try to drive this point home such as “Carpe Diem” or “Strike while the iron is hot.” So, there is already substantial logic in front of us that informs us of the benefits of doing something now rather than later.

Therefore it can’t be that we don’t know. We do know.

It has likely even been beaten into us. By our parents, our educators, our life. We are even likely to have encountered situations in the past where we have been victims of our own inaction.

So, why aren’t we learning?

I mean, yes, we are probably improved in our decision making and actions based on such input. But why isn’t it second nature to us, like breathing?

If we put off breathing for a while, we learn very quickly that it might not be the best decision we have ever made, so we don’t even think about it. We just do it.

If we had a real record of our delayed decisions or actions being good for us, then I would understand. But how many times have we benefited by inaction to where it becomes reasonable to do so?

I mean, OK, if you woke up in Southampton on April 10th, 1912 and said “ah fuck it, I’ll wait until tomorrow for the next ship to America” and then rolled back over for a snooze … then I understand.

But most of life doesn’t play out to where putting something off actually was a good idea. Most of life happens in the now.

When we realize that our lives are lived in the now, it requires us to deal with things in the now.

Tell little Johnny you love him today. Maybe something will happen that takes him away or takes you away. Don’t wait until it is too late

Today is in the now. Tomorrow is in the future and unless you know something that I don’t know, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for anyone.

It’s why when the company hit the skids a few months ago and I had nothing to do, I decided not to do nothing. I decided to do something. So, I wrote a book. And a month later, I wrote a second book. And now in my third month, I have started book three.

It is irrelevant if anyone ever publishes them or if anyone reads them. But it is important that I wrote them. Important for me. It was something I had mused over for years but I kept putting them off, thinking “ah, I will do it sometime.”

If I was lying on my deathbed, wishing I had made the time to write the book that was in my head, I would be seriously pissed at myself. And while there may indeed be reasons that I will be really pissed on my deathbed, that won’t be one of them.

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard a friend tell me that they should write a book, I wouldn’t need change for a twenty. But of all the people I have heard voice that thought, I don’t even know one of them who has.

But life is not about writing a book. At least not for everyone. But I can guarantee you that there is at least one big thing that you wish you had done, but haven’t. And it probably isn’t that you decided not to do it. It’s just that you will do it “some day”.

The truth is … you won’t. You will lie on your deathbed and right there in the middle of all the things you wished you had done better in your life, there will be that one “thing”.

So, either accept that your deathbed is going to be a pretty miserable experience or get off your ass and do the “thing” today. Even if it is so big that you can’t get it finished, it doesn’t matter. Get it started.

Then at the very least on your deathbed, you can take consolation in the fact that you died trying.

… just a thought.