Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tan Tights - A Lesson in Procastination

My five year old daughter started ballet classes last fall, and for the next seven months, our Saturdays were dedicated to this class. It was right in the middle of the day; 2pm on Saturdays so all our activities had to be planned before and after the ballet. For seven months! It was painful.

Recital day approached, but we had to travel out of the country on vacation. By the time we came back, we had only two weeks left before the event.

The instructor handed me my daughter’s uniform and instructed me casually to get tan tights for her. No white, no pink, must be tan. OK, I noted, making a recurring entry into my cell phone calendar to make sure I got the tights on time.

The reminder popped up as programmed. Actually, that reminder would pop up 10 times, before I finally acknowledged it. The recital was a Saturday and it was the Thursday before that I finally acknowledged it.

You see, I’m a recovering procrastinator. Everything I have to do can always be done later. I always make lists and then reschedule them, until deadlines loom and the stress of procrastination begins to take its toll. I did say recovering right?

Well I went to one store during my lunch break on this Thursday, and to my horror, there were no tan tights. I went to another store; I saw pink, white, but no tan. I would go on Friday to yet another store. Still no tan tights.

Out of desperation, I bought a beige pair, but against my daughter’s skin, it looked pink and weird. By now, panic had set in. I did not want my daughter to look different from all the other little girls on the stage. I wanted her to look perfect.

My husband glanced at us and remarked that for the 10 minute show, no one would even notice. She looked fine in her beige tights. We went home grudgingly. The recital was at 10.30 the next day, with instructions to get there at 10am.

Before I went to bed that night, I hatched out a plan that I would go out early the next day and look at one more store, and hopefully get the tan tights.

I woke up early the next day and informed my family that I was going to get batteries (which indeed I was, as well as the tights). I went to yet another store. No tan tights. Disappointed, I headed to my car, and then remembered one other store. One more try I told myself.

I went over to that store and rummaged through their ballet section. Finally, at 9.15am, I found a pair of small tan tights. The only pair left. Victory!.I grabbed them, paid and went home bearing my trophy. I got home at 9.30am.

I was happy and proud of my daughter. She looked beautiful and adorable in her little outfit. She looked exactly like the other little ballerinas.

At the venue, as I waited backstage with the other mums, I observed that a little girl in the group had lost her neck ribbon, Her mom was fretting, looking around and trying to find out where it was. I remembered what my husband had said to me; in the ten minute recital, no one would notice this missing neck tie. But at the same time, I knew exactly how she felt.

My little ballerina did great, we gave her flowers, we took pictures, and we went home. I had learnt another lesson about not procrastinating on even the things that seemed small and minor.

Nowadays, I strive hard to live by “never leave until tomorrow what can be done today”. If there’s something that needs to be done, I at least start it, one small task at a time. I still get slip ups once in a while, but I'll keep trying.

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