Don’t put off what you put on to go to bed

Stacy Dikareva

It always gets worse before it gets better. This old adage, though I find to be true, has always perplexed me. Why do we frequently wait for things to become overwhelmingly difficult before we start to take action? Of course, certain situations may be completely out of our control; in which case, I simply brace myself, have a little faith (maybe even a little cry) and let the rock bottom hit. But what about the times when we remain stagnant on projects, neglect to address a bad relationship (romantic, professional, or otherwise), let that ankle swell and throb for days before you see a doc, or put off any number of other things that only become increasingly more unpleasant, irritating and potentially more harmful with time. The other phenomenon to accompany this paradox of the human condition is the fact that most frequently, we’re not even
objective enough to see ourselves idling in this state.

And while sometimes we might work better after the pressure induced by the proverbial kick in the behind, I refuse to accept idling in a situation that can be potentially harmful to you academically, professionally, emotionally, physically, what have you, as a good place to remain motionless.

To put things into context, I have a friend who graduated from university in 2009 with a degree in Microbiology. Having graduated into a recession, she found herself struggling to find a job that would put a dent in her student debt and pad her savings account a little bit. During the year that she looked for work, she also applied to several graduate programs but upon finding a job working as a lab tech for a large company, she decided to indefinitely postpone her admission to either graduate program. Soon after she signed her contract, she began working incredibly long hours, over-time and frequently through her weekends without any acknowledgement of her dedication from her superiors. Fast forward to almost three years later and we see that she hasn’t progressed much in the company and was recently told by her coordinator that she should look to move laterally within the company rather than vertically (read: don’t you even think of gunning for my job, missy).

Observing the emotional and physical toll this process has taken on my friend, I have always pressed her to leave that job and enroll into a graduate program, or pursue something that will be more professionally and intellectually rewarding. After all, this girl has the grades, the intelligence and the hunger for knowledge to be successful in a graduate program (or any endeavour), should she choose that route. However, it appears as though the fiscal restraint and uncertainty of leaving a steady, albeit soul-eating, job do not outweigh the potential benefits she may reap from having a graduate degree several years down the line (admittedly, I am not convinced there are definite ‘benefits’, but I can say that a grad degree certainly doesn’t hurt). Her latest response to my advice (er, nagging) was one of ‘everything will happen in due time’. To me, this is a euphemism for ‘when things really become unbearable, maybe I’ll do something about it then’. As I write this post, I realize that as I witness my friend’s perpetual work dissatisfaction, I’ve done this to myself on many occasions.

In fact, I realize that I’m currently falling into a lull myself. Perhaps what we need to bring introspective objectivity is that extraneous experience to put things into perspective? Or maybe we just need to blog about it. While this lull may be a natural tendency to experience towards the end of the semester, it’s also the most dangerous time to ease up on the gas and coast through your weeks lying on a grassy patch outside pretending to study. In an attempt to jolt me out of this vegetative state, my life coach (bless her wise soul) reminded me that “We are only as successful as the things we do today, not tomorrow, or three months from now.” The present is the best time to take action. And even if you are convinced that you can’t just seem to focus, take Tracey’s advice and just try going through the motions of doing what you have to do, before you know it, you will be making it instead of faking it.

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