Choices, Procrastination And My Corruption
Thanks to anti-Utopias, my teachers and Constitution, there is a strong habit built in my brain to think that freedom of choice is the best thing ever, and to be deprived of it is the worst. Surely, it is true in most cases. Like freedom to choose what you are going to be or who to love or whom to vote for.
But as any other thing in this world, the freedom of choice is dialectic — it can do harm too.
I’m not talking about bad life choices: “wrong” boyfriends or jobs or else usually turn out to be good school and a needed experience. I’m thinking about the freedom of choice itself. Too much freedom corrupts, as we know from literature and history.
Me, I’m heavily corrupted.
I lack discipline and I’m at age when you stop considering this as an alluring thing. I wake up in the morning and reflect on two options: to work out or not. Usually it’s not. While eating my breakfast I can learn a few new words or watch my favourite cartoon. I want to learn, but I want those cartoons more. So the choice is obvious. Then it’s time to choose if I put some make up or not and if I to dress up or put on whatever comes first. In one case I would feel myself pretty pretty, in another — pretty grumpy.
You would probably say these things are small. Then I would probably melancholically remark that our life consists of small things that snowball into a big one. We would end up in quite a Coelho conversation.
Anyway. I remember earlier years of my life when I had no choice. There was only one way to survive — to struggle. I was just doing what I could, how I could despite the strangling fear. It was often clumsy, awkward, wrong and way worse than others did, but I kept doing what I could overwhelmed with stress. And it proved effective. It guided me and always got me somewhere, better and bigger each time. It was a progress.
Later I lost that thing. I got more stable financially and socially. And I felt like I can relax a bit. I was free to take my time thinking about my options. To be safe and not awkward, laid back and not freaked out. This “freedom” has creeped inside and paralysed me, turned me into a hostage. It tells me to keep safe. It whispers: “those cannot do wrong who don’t do anything”. This is a digression. The more time I am like that, the worse the consequences are. And I hate myself right now. It’s like a self-sabotage of my whole self who has always been a fighter.
Me and my husband once did an experiment on choosing. We tried to live three days on a simple principle “thought — done”. The term was to do immediately whatever came to one’s mind without an option to postpone it or think about it. I mean, stuff we needed or planned to do long ago. A lot was done and completed in those three days. But the craziest was that we both realised: when you are deprived of right to choose — you don’t frustrate about thing you are about to do. You know what you have to do and just do it. Works like a religion in some sense for me.
In the chain “thought — preparation — action” we simply eliminated the middle step and its emotional pressure and got things done. Yes, we hacked procrastination! But lazy human nature rules, we didn’t make it into a habit then.
Today I’m stuck. And I’m not looking for an answer to my problem cause I got one, I’m telling this story to remind myself of the tool I have. I need this freedom from choice more than ever to make a progress. I’m terrified of descending into total numbing digression. Cause that what happens to artists with full bellies.