Avoidance or procrastination?
- I am avoiding the email account I use for “dating.” Thus, I don’t have to deal with the issue of Date Night Guy.
- I am avoiding calling the company where I had the project lead, because the ball is in their court.
- I am avoiding harassing my doctor’s office over test results, because their phone system makes me cranky.
- I am avoiding looking at myself in the mirror, since it affirms that it’s been a rough few months.
- I am avoiding another load of laundry. Just because.
See? Coping strategies. Not head in the sand. Not refusing to listen, even to my adult voice. Just a handful of the many opportunities for annoyance, disappointment, and bewilderment that I don’t need to deal with. Just now.
Okay. “Just now” indicates kinship with procrastination. So here’s a clarification – I’m waiting until the last possible moment to make four sandwiches, wash apples, dig out bags of chips and bottles of water and bag them up, then listen to teenage morning moaning as I knock on assorted doors.
That is procrastination.
Shouldn’t it be considered a sign of good health and stability to avoid negative experiences, or for that matter, to put them off?
Avoidance is Healthy (Sometimes)
I also avoid my ex (my blood pressure shoots through the roof when I deal with him), I avoid rooms full of people coughing (wouldn’t you?), and I’d avoid my own home if I could – on certain days. Who in their right mind enters an adolescent infested storage unit, filled to overflowing with stacks of books and bills, and wacky art?
Wait. I love my books. I love my art. The bills? Not so much…
As for procrastination, I think it’s gotten a bad rap. It’s another coping strategy that’s as easy as pie and much maligned; surely it isn’t the devilish psychological defect we have come to consider it.
Still, I insist on the distinction between avoidance and procrastination, as the former seems proactively self-aware and the latter, at least in common (mis)understanding, is steeped in negative consequences that are likely to catch up in the future.
- What do you avoid doing, saying, or looking at – that helps you get through the day?
- Whom do you avoid, to stay sane or healthy?
- How did avoidance become such a “bad guy” in the bouquet of adult behaviors?
- And what about its cousin, Procrastination – always a problem?
Avoidance and Procrastination as Life Strategies
I can’t say these are highly advertised life strategies, but I’m sure I’m not the only one practicing them (flawlessly) in our troubled times. When searching out a sense of control over one’s environment (not actual control, mind you – but dare I dream?) – these particular behavioral tendencies may be just the thing to help squeak through another day.
Avoidance, procrastination, yes – there’s morning coffee (tactical, I admit) and also chocolate. Let’s add a dose of mindless television, old movies on cable, new movies on cable (the free ones), and a tiny bit of warm and fuzzy when you see that it’s going to be a sunny day.
Frankly, I think we need a support group. You know. Those of us who survive on avoidance – mostly to stand up to those who would insist that we deal with every grueling reality of adulthood on our overflowing plates (of crazy). And honestly, that’s unhealthy.
So I’ll just say no to avoiding my avoidance strategies for survival. At least, I’ll say no – not today.
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