I used to think that I was one of the world’s best at not procrastinating.
When I was in grade school, I did my homework in class before leaving school. When I make a mess, I clean as I go, so there is rarely ever a mess. Even today, I prefer to get all of my research papers and emails and practice questions taken care of before I allow myself to enjoy a single episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Sometimes I don’t let myself eat dinner until my work is completed.
But front-loading all of the hard work and none of the fun isn’t paying off so much anymore. In medical school, there is always more work that could be done. Striking a balance can be hard.And when the work is finally done, and I’m not with friends or family or my amazing husband, I keep thinking, What’s next? What is this all about? And I realize, the only thing I’ve been procrastinating is the most important thing of all: savoring the right now.
The moments that feel the best for me? They are the moments when I’m in the moment, fully present. When I’m with a patient, being a sort-of-almost-doctor: I get to think through the miraculous masterpiece of science that is that person’s body, and then solve a puzzle, and then create a relationship for the ultimate purpose of helping the person live healthier and [hopefully] with more quality and passion. I leave almost every patient interaction feeling lucky that I get to fill that role. When I’m with Drew, and I can’t stop laughing, and the harder I try to stop laughing the harder I laugh. When he grabs my hand when I’m not expecting it or takes me to Costco just to show me the giant stuffed animals and feed me free samples. When we say our prayers together at bedtime whenever we are in the same place, and sometimes even on the phone. When he’s baking another apple pie and lets me sample the dough and lick the bowl (the best part). When I’m with my family and my Sissy and I put on Amish-looking nightgowns to embarrass Flynn in front of her boyfriend. Or when I’m with Mama somewhere in public and act really strange on purpose to see her reaction- slightly horrified and slightly encouraging.
The other way that I procrastinate is by waiting until things in my life are “just right” before I live life to the fullest. In metaphorical terms (or maybe an example, sadly): I can’t fully enjoy the beach because I don’t have a supermodel bikini body. [The big exception here is my relationship with my husband, Drew. We were impractical. We got married in the middle of medical and dental school, and we still live 6 hours apart. Some people wait to get married when everything else in life is filed away and put in order, but we knew that we would always be busy, and if not busy with school, busy with our careers, etc. We seized the day. This isn’t surprising if you know Drew]
I refuse to think of my body as beautiful when I’m over 130 pounds. I refuse to watch the episode of television I really wanted to see until I’m done with all my work. I refuse to call friends that I haven’t talked to in a long time because I’m worried they are upset I haven’t called in a long time. I refused to write the advice book I’ve been wanting to write about body image because my body image isn’t perfect yet. I refuse to go to that bible study I thought about attending because I have not been prayerful enough lately. I’ve been refusing to blog because I didn’t have insight important enough to share.
The psychologist I have been working with teaches me to enjoy whatever I have going on today, right now, as it is, without judging it. She also refuses to let me forget the progress I have made when I start to regress. My goal is gradually shifting from having a perfect body to being perfectly happy with my imperfect body. And now I am realizing that this is a goal shift that should occur throughout my entire life: to be content with what is right now– what is happening right now, what my body weighs and needs right now, how insightful I am right now, and what is worth doing right now.
And somehow, when I find myself doing this, I realize that I am physically and spiritually and emotionally worthy of it all. And there is no reason to procrastinate feeling worthy or feeling loved.