“I will think about that tomorrow”
Scarlet O Hara in the film Gone with the wind said “I don't want to think about that now I will think about that tomorrow.” A fine example of procrastination?
Procrastination is when you fail to take action to make something happen. You know exactly what to do but you simply don’t do it. We procrastinate about so many things, from visiting the dentist, writing a letter or email, telling a family member what we need from them, sorting out our money problems, taking exercise. The list is endless. So what do you procrastinate about?
We say to ourselves “I know life would be better if I .. but” and then the excuses jump in. “Im too old or too busy or too uneducated or too shy”. We say to ourselves “People would say she's carried or he should act his age.” or we say “That would take too much effort. I don't do those kind of things at my age,” or “ I’ve never done that kind of thing before so I can’t start doing it now” Recently a U3A member said I’ll be 70 next month I can’t start painting at that age.” I said to him “You will still be 70 whether you paint or not but what fun it would be to have produced a painting to celebrate your birthday.” I believe that when we start acting old no matter what age we are we heading down the slippery slope to sitting on a chair talking about the past while the present skates by.
There are many reasons why we procrastinate about doing a task or speaking out. I want to concentrate on why people might put off coming to the U3A. I think that often it is fear.
Fear is spelled: False Expectations Appearing Real. Sometimes people are afraid that they might not fit in. Nothing could be further from the truth. We repeatedly hear members say how welcome they were made on joining a class. Another fear would be members have for putting off joining is that they haven't been in a school building since they left school and that wasn't a good experience. There are people in the U3A from every walk of life, every ability. As one contributor said of the Gentlemen Singers “They don't care who you are or what you are so long as you are having fun”
Some people use the ‘too busy” excuse for not joining the Newry U3A. If you are really very busy but still working out what your priorities are that is fine. But if you are too busy because of lack of self discipline, then you are only fooling yourself. Having at least one hour of fun and joy in your day, one hour of nearing the smallest of goals each day, will bring much wellbeing and satisfaction to you.
Someone once said We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing. Here are some people who are not going to grow old any day soon.
Tony says he knows a lot about putting off doing things. His wife died some years ago and it was a tough time for him. His sister-in-law advised him to join the U3A but he says he used every kind of excuse to avoid joining. He told himself that there were only old people there. I said “Why would I want to be doing gardening and certainly not singing or cooking?” But Teresa continued to coax and cajole and eventually it paid off. He joined the Gentlemen Singers - just to give it a try. He says “ It was great - I met so many people from different backgrounds who couldn't care less who you are or what you are. All they want is that you enjoy yourself and sing - and singing is almost secondary to having fun.”
Tony did not hesitate when he was invited to join the Men’s Cookery Class as it was about cooking for one person. He then moved on to the Life Story Writing Class to meet a completely new set of people who quickly became friends. Flushed with success he signed up for the iPad class with a very patient Sr Zita. “I hadn't a notion about the IPad but now I’m quite proficient” he says. Joe Morgan told Tony that there was a role for a grumpy old man in the play “The Last Dance.” No procrastination here. He joined, got the part in the play and has enjoyed the fun and the whole learning experience in the Acting Up group.
Tony’s message to procrastinators is this, “Just go up and join because every day you miss is a bad day. They are a great bunch of people so if you are retired this is the place for you”
Rosaleen says that having four children kept her very busy for many years. She tended to put her own needs on the back burner. “I literally didn't have time for myself and I continually put off doing something for me - always pushing the goalposts back “
A friend, Rose convinced Rosaleen that she would enjoy the U3A and that she should give it a go. She joined and started with the Walk and Talk class. She loves to get walking with new friends. “Its great to feel part of a group. The walks lift your mood and you just feel good in mind and body at the end of the walk” says Rosaleen.
She never imagined herself doing drama but the Acting Up class has really given her confidence in herself. She has also joined members of the U3A who attend the Accolade Community Choir. Her message to those who are putting off doing something for themselves is this “Go Search. and get a bit of a life for yourself because you deserve it!”
John has had a very busy working life. He took early retirement but then continued to work hard when he set up his own business. He is now fully retired and admits that the pressure of work caused him to put off taking up a activities like squash, until he would had more time. There always was other priorities to contend with.
When John and his wife Esther saw a poster about the U3A in Tesco they decided to check out what was on offer. John was immediately drawn to the Gardening Group. He has lovely memories of his father’s vegetable garden and he always thought he’d like to do the same. He put that dream on the long finger because of the pressures of work and family commitments.
Now he would at last, have the chance to grow his own vegetables.
John says “ It’s absolutely brilliant out there. From day one on arriving at the allotment on the Armagh Road, I was made so welcome by people being friendly and helpful. It’s just like a family, with banter and a great rapport.” He says that the great weather of last summer made the weekly visits so relaxing and enjoyable.
John pointed out that members can come out to the Allotment and check it out before making any decisions. The one pound per week covers the cost of seeds and bulbs. He says that this year the Gardening Group are going to supply fresh vegetables to the Men in the Kitchen Group.
His message to would be members and procrastinators is “Don’t wait! Join up when our season starts in March.This class, like the golf, runs right through the summer.”
John also joined the iPad class and has become a lot more proficient with more than just sending emails and taking photographs.
Margaret joined the U3A last September. She had put off joining because she thought she might be too young and anyway didn't feel all that confident. She joined the Accolade Community Choir and met some members from the U3A who were talking about the fun they were having at the different classes. She says “They were saying it really took them out of themselves so I thought it might suit me too.” She is quite competent with the computer but the iPad was new to her. It only took her a short while in the iPad class to become proficient. It has opened up a whole new world of communication for her.
Margaret joined the Drama Class run by Kaleidscope’s Kerry Rooney. Her tutor is Charmaine. She says she settled into one group and was enjoying that but was then moved to another group. Initially she was worried that she might not settle in this new situation. But she says she need not have worried as she is loving it now. She is looking forward to trying more classes too. She says “It’s really all about meeting new people and and finding that we are all basically the same with same worries and hopes and dreams. So don’t put off giving yourself a chance because if you do it’s you that is losing out” says Margaret.