Advice To My Younger Self

Listen Up Mac’,

How can I get my parents to realize I’m not lazy? It feels like every conversation these days ends in an argument.

My parents are constantly getting on me to do this or that right now. I’m a straight A student (mostly if I’m honest). I get my homework in on time. I practice my piano regularly. And I’m a crazy safe driver.

With all that do I get a, “Way to go buddy,” or a, “You’re our favorite son.” No (and I’m their only son). Instead, all I get for all my hard work is, “Turn that DAMN THING OFF! NOW!”

What can I say so my parents understand watching tv isn’t being lazy (it’s just my way of unwinding)? The best I’ve been able to muster is, “I SAID IN A MINUTE!” And if I say it again, that minute might be my last.

Teenage Indian Macgyver

Dear TIM,

Man, I know that tune well. I can hum it, or near enough at least. When I was your age the refrain in my house was near identical to your letter (I can’t imagine why).

While I don’t watch as much tv these days I do follow my distractions past the point of productivity. Even now, as I write these words I’m actively avoiding work, real work. Work that pays me less than I deserve. Work that continuously overwhelms. But work that’s constantly rewarding nonetheless.

As I undoubtedly rewrite these words I know to some my procrastination will seem like a waste of time and to others it will sound like an all too familiar way of coping. To me it’s something altogether different, procrastination is my self expression.

At times I believe it’s deeper than self expression. Procrastination might just be my soul’s expression (or my soul’s emoji).

Now these days I have something to show for my procrastination which makes it easier to excuse. But just because you don’t have anything to show for it right now doesn’t mean you’re being lazy. It’s all about what you do with what you’ve got (eventually).

My point TIM is procrastination, like any form of expression, done right is an art. While some artists prefer to paint, others dance, and some write – we procrastinate.

But don’t just listen to me. At your age I doubt I’d have listened to myself either (and if I know your parents like I think I do, they won’t listen to me either). So listen to Henry David Thoreau because he said it better than I ever will.

“I was not born to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest [Mother].”

Henry David Thoreau


For the record, Thoreau’s quote is one word less. But in this case I don’t think he’d mind.

After all these words come from his work, “Resistance to Civil Government,” also known as “Civil Disobedience.” So it seems not only appropriate but fitting to utilize his words standing up to the most totalitarian regime many of us will luckily, ever know (remember to vote this November)!

Besides great words don’t need context — they only need to be heard.

© Indian Macgyver 2016


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