There is an expression in English: “kicking the can down the road”. It means not dealing with something. In other words, if I am “kicking the can down the road”, I am delaying action on something that I should be acting on right now.
Another word for this is “procrastination”. Procrastination was one of the first topics in the book “The Road Less Travelled” (M. Scott Peck). He wrote about this topic in a section on Discipline.
We recently decided to do a small remodeling project in our home. Before the work began, we had to clean out and empty two closets. We had used these closets as storage areas for years. Over the last month, we emptied the closets, threw out what we didn’t need or want, and sorted the remaining items. There was a lot to go through. We shredded enough paperwork to fill 8 green trash bags with shredded paper. When we finished the task of cleaning out those closets, we felt a lot better about completing the task. Why did it take us so many years to do this?
I have lots of expressions for procrastination. I say:
“I don’t want to deal with this right now”.
“Can we discuss this later?”
“I am not prepared to have talk about this right now”.
And my favorite,
“I don’t want to”.
When I don’t want to do something, I hide in the basement. This is a photo of me avoiding something that I don’t want to do.
I have learned that I complete some things that I don’t want to do, and avoid other things. I have noticed a pattern to those two categories.
I don’t want to go to the dentist, or get a colonoscopy, or see the dermatologist, or exercise, go food shopping, get an oil change, or schedule a haircut. But for some reason, I do all of those things regularly, on schedule. I add those things to my calendar, I schedule them, and I complete them.
But the things that involve lots of conflict, or emotional stuff…..those are the things that I put off. They seem too messy to me. For whatever reason, I avoid conflict with other people. I just don’t like it. So I “kick the can down the road” on those things that involve conflict.
I know that I am not unique in this. I see other people who are “kicking the can down the road” about things in their lives. Really important things. Marriage, relationship, career, health and safety, and money.
I am going to clean out some more closets in my life.