Packing, Painting, and Procrastinating: Sentimental Musings on the night of August 25th

Shirts, pants, underwear, toothbrush, coats, socks, shoes, a picture of my family—all things that have disappeared from my room in the past twenty-four hours. My mother, despite my protests, seems intent on “packing.” How many pairs of underwear should I bring? There is a question not answered by the guides, tips and live chats which I may have forgotten to download, read and attend, respectively of course. In January, the worry was to finish my application, followed by a fleeting feeling of relief. But when exams had finished, it was time to fill out my formal application to Edinburgh. How does one convey oneself in 300 words? Should one use the word oneself? Does it make one sound pretentious? These are reoccurring dilemmas from my many personal statements and statements of experience (between which I cannot find a difference), as well as experimental blog posts. The application was finished, but the waiting had begun. For two months I checked my email once a day, hoping for confirmation of acceptance. Eventually, it came, as I knew it would. The fraction of students who are rejected by the university to which they are nominated must be miniscule, as I kept telling myself, but a part of me wanted to sow the seed of doubt, for it seemed much easier to be rejected and attend my home university, for my life to simply continue. But I was not the exception, I was the rule, as I was accepted into the university, enrolled in my courses, and granted a visa. Throughout the process, I kept fostering that seed of doubt, but as my mother tries to convince me that snow boots would of great use in Scotland, and that I am simply being difficult, and can’t I just go watch TV as she does not mind packing for me, I can’t help but feel the reality of my situation: I am going to Edinburgh in a week. One week in which I must say my goodbyes, prepare mentally, and finish painting my parents porch, which should have finished by June. Day after day I looked at the peeling wood, and told myself I would paint tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, or the week after tomorrow; it did not matter, I had months. I will not chalk this down as laziness, although I probably should. Instead, I think we often procrastinate not because we have much to do, not because we are busy and happy, but simply because to do what could be done tomorrow today forces us to acknowledge just how short today is. So whether it is painting a porch, writing a ridiculously sentimental (and wordy!) blog post, or packing, to do something today for tomorrow, you must kill that seed of doubt, and admit that the present is as fleeting as your grandparents have been telling you for years, a far more frightening prospect than living abroad for a year, or a dinner of haggis, neeps and tatties.

Written August 25th