Daily Life

Ginger Ale in Manhattan

The first time I had ginger ale, I was nineteen years old. While I was growing up, we were primarily a Coke and percolated coffee family. I remember watching commercials for Seagram’s Ginger Ale and thinking it must be something for rich people. Like Perrier and Pizza Hut.

So, on that sunny day in The City, I followed my brother’s roommates up a narrow flight of stairs to an Indian restaurant just outside The Village. Square tables covered in white filled the open air dining space. Large, slow moving ceiling fans circulated above us as we were led to a table somewhere in the middle of the room. It was crowded but comfortable.

Our waiter was tall, wearing an impossibly white suit and an equally impossibly white turban. He pulled out my chair and seated me despite it being a casual cafe, and I felt like a princess transplanted from the Midwest to that magical, exotic rooftop.

My escorts for the day advised me on the menu, and I chose a fruity rice with chicken and nuts. I batted between ordering water or a Coke when I saw it on the menu. Ginger ale.

I asked Tod, “Have you ever had ginger ale?”

He smiled. “Of course. Haven’t you?”

I shook my head. “No. Do you think I’d like it?”

He smiled again. “Yes. It’s divine. You HAVE to try it.”

Okay.

The waiter brought our food and drinks. He set down a glass goblet, beads of condensation glistening like jewels along the sides. Ice floated in half moons as the golden nectar bubbled and churned – dancing.

I sat up a little straighter. I arranged the napkin a bit more neatly over my lap, and I took a sip.

Divine.

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Breaking the procrastination cycle one day, or moment, at time.

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There was a time when, if you looked up procrastination in the dictionary, you’d find my picture right next to its phonetic spelling. Even now, I succeed in accomplishing my goals in spurts, like a sprinter. But, I want to be more like a marathoner because, after all, this is a long race we’re running.

In my younger years, I would often wait until the midnight hour, literally and figuratively, to do things like laundry or that 40 page term paper on the redemption cycle as represented by earth elements in King Lear. True story.

Then, as it so often does, life caught up with me and my mercurial ways. Certain things just didn’t flex into my creative scheduling. Bills, work, grown up chores, and the eventual realization that, whatever I wanted to accomplish in life, I was responsible for putting into play. I have an expiration date, and contrary to what most of us so-called visionaries were taught to believe by other so-called visionaries, so do our dreams and aspirations.

After a few (okay, MANY) unladylike stumbles and outright epic failures, I realized that my goals were more important than my perceived freedom of spirit. I began to prioritize, whittle down, and focus. None of these actions come easily to me. I can’t even call them habits yet because, even as a 40-something, I still struggle. Daily.

I make to-do lists, lose them, and start over with a new piece of paper (sorry, trees). Between my full-time job, being a mom and (trying) to be a homemaker, sometimes it’s hard to squeeze in freelance work before 9pm. Then, there are my working manuscripts: my memoir, my novel, and my fantasy trilogy. Oh, and those short stories. . . *sigh*

It’s unrealistic to think I can do it all, and yet, I feel like a failure for not being able to bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, etc. etc. (If you’re under 40, you probably won’t get that reference. Sorry.) After beating myself up for not living up to my own expectations (or delirium, maybe?), I usually come back to reality with a clearer vision. I count my blessings and remember to be thankful. I remember that, yes, tomorrow IS another day and sometimes I remember that the rest of the day – the afternoon or even this next hour is fresh and unspoilt.

Then, instead of making the day’s to-do list on paper, I email it to myself. Instead of attempting to write 3 chapters between the hours of 9 and 11pm, I tell myself to do one page. One page is good. One page is great. One page is freaking FANTASTIC!

Can I bake 3 dozen cupcakes for the school bake sale this Thursday? No, but I can take home some reading pull out pages and collate them over the weekend. Can I clean out the car, weed the garden, and make a batch of cookies between getting off work and taking my son to his piano lesson? No, but I can grab a few things as I get out of the car, water the mums, and look through the cookbooks quickly with him to pick a recipe to bake together on Saturday afternoon.

Can I say no? Yes.

Can I compromise? Yes.

Can I be patient and forgiving, with myself? Yes.

And so can you.

There are many reasons we procrastinate. Only you can look inside yourself for your unique answer. For me, my reasons vary. I’m tired. I’m afraid it won’t turn out the way I want. I think I’ll have more time later. But, I challenge each of us to look at our lives and realize we’re on a one-way trip. What do we really want to accomplish while we’re here? What will bring us joy? What on our list is worth making a priority? What can we let go?

When you decide what’s important to you, revisit it daily. Spend time with your goals if you want to make them realities. You might stumble and fall, but keep getting back up. Move forward a little or a lot everyday, and you’ll make it.