I have a love-hate relationship with deadlines. I love them because if left alone, I would never get anything finished. With them I finish, but all too often by the skin of my teeth. This is one of those days I dislike. Too many tasks to do and deadlines are looming.
Recently I have received a great deal of support and attention due to the death of a loved one, my husband of thirty-one years Allen E. Williams. I am so fortunate to have that loving ring of kindness from my family and friends to hold me up in my grief, but how I dread sitting down to write thank you notes. It should be easy because I am truly thankful for the many ways they have looked after me, but it is hard to focus. Sitting in my office with all the necessary pieces lists of names and addresses, cards, envelopes, stamps, a good pen, it is difficult to stay on track for more than an hour at a time.
My mother raised me to be a good Southern lady (well, she was only partly successful, there are lots of rough edges left.) That means you get notes sent on a timely basis. So far, I have written about 30, but there are many more reminders in the basket calling me for response thanks for visits, calls, notes, flowers, plants and attending the celebration of Als life.
I have stopped writing notes for the day because I like to write some personal comments on each and not simply sign my name. That seems like cheating somehow.
I have two other imminent deadlines. First is writing something to read at my weekly writing group and the other this short essay about my lack of self-discipline and because I promised the Editor that I would write a column each month and August has slipped away almost unnoticed.
Deadlines whether external or self-imposed are a necessary part of life. They make me sweat and cry, but somehow, they also provide a useful framework that I need. I figured out why I procrastinate a few years ago. I am a closet perfectionist. If my handwriting is hen scratches, if there is a smudge on the back of an envelope, it I put on an ugly stamp, it is because of my haste in meeting a deadline and thus I can forgive myself for failing to be a perfect Southern lady.
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