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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jul 29, 2011

They say that old habits die hard. I am not so sure old habits die at all.

I have good habits that have helped me and I have bad habits that I did when I was in grade school that I still do today. If they were alive today, I am sure my parents would look at me and say, “He hasn’t changed that much in 64 years.”

I have been able to quit one habit that I did when I was very young. I no longer bite my fingernails.

But I believe the rest of my habits, whether good or bad, are pretty much in place. As far as my bad habits, I have told myself many times, “I will never do that again,” and within days, nothing has changed.

Among my good habits is a natural curiosity about many things, with electronic gizmos holding a special fascination. Hooking wires together and watching a device come alive when the power is applied always amazes me.

When I was in grade school, I wanted a radio that would let me listen to distant stations. My favorite reading was mail-order catalogs. I turned to the radio section first to see what they offered.

Today, I still look at radios with wonder and now have achieved what I always wanted with Internet radio. I can listen to almost any station without having to wait until dark for best reception.

But you’re waiting to hear about my bad habits, aren’t you?

Well, OK, but for anyone who knows me somewhat, my confession is not going to come as any surprise. My worst habit is (gulp) procrastination.

That has tripped me up for most of my life and occasionally, has helped me when my unintentional delaying of a situation worked to my advantage when the circumstances changed.

However, most of the time I have jobs that are waiting for me to either start or do the last details to finally finish them off.

Usually, someone is at the other end is waiting for me to do my part so they can do theirs.

It does not matter if the job is as simple as mowing the lawn or more complicated like clearing off the top of my desk.

I look at the job, acknowledge its need to be done and at day’s end, it is not done.

Most of the time, I can say that once completed, the job is done well. I can also say that beneath my procrastination there is probably a frustrated perfectionist saying, “If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all.”

It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So I am the one who turns in his work at the last minute, walks up the church steps just as the bell is ringing and is always working against a deadline. I keep a calendar and have several watches, but am always fighting time because I am running late.

Maybe I like the excitement of working against a deadline. Maybe I do my best work under pressure. It is a habit, but not an excuse.

After all these years, it seems to be an old habit that does die hard. I will have to do something about that, just not right now.

Want to hear about my problem with good intentions?

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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