With things that are finished, I guess it may be easy to have a sense of “closure” or a feeling that the thing is done.

I think I have lots of things that are unfinished, and some that are unfinishable: how do you manage this?

I guess we learn to accept that the unfinishable is out of our control, so maybe that brings it to an end.

Certain projects or things may take a long time, so maybe we have to accept also that certain unfinished things are unfinishable in the short term.

Maybe one of the tricky things is random unfinished projects that go in and out of feeling like they might be able to be finished: for example, I’ve lost contact with a lot of friends over viewpoints and time passing - the friendships could possibly be revived, but they’re not really active.

I’m not sure if these is unfinished or unfinishable. At any point they may come to their senses and things could change. But it hasn’t happened up until this point, and it’s kind of chaotic and unpredictable. I think there are probably some goals like this that I may have trouble managing at all.

As I write this, I think I realize I was just taught to procrastinate on finishing a lot of things. There was always tomorrow, except today is now that tomorrow. So I kind of want to finish some things up to move on to the next thing. It wasn’t just one person that has this attitude, it’s all over the place: people procrastinate on solving societal or political problems, I felt like school broke up learning things over weeks which sometimes could be finished in days, sometimes people say not to do things “rashly” but to wait and think about things.

But anyway, what has helped you bring a sense of closure to your life?

I don’t know where to start. There are things that have no endpoint, and you have to arbitrarily choose the endpoint. Like if you design a homebrew computer. How far is completed? I mean, you can use wire-wrapping and have it on a breadboard, and that might be enough for you. Or you may have an appropriate circuit board designed for it. At that point, you might figure writing a simple ROM for it with maybe a built-in BASIC would be enough. The same can be said when writing a story. How do you know where the endpoint is and be able to move onto another step such as editing or looking for publishers?

Electronics projects commonly have the unfinished project dilemma. Sometimes, you just can’t find that one part to complete your project. That is a project you pretty much should put away and shelve until you get what you need to complete it. But then, you could also come up with clever replacements or do some other way. For instance, one company producing Gigatron kits shipped the wrong resistor pack to use as a DAC. You could attempt to use that and get distorted sound or not use it at all and sacrifice sound. Or you could try to order that part from another source. Or, you can take individual resistors and create your own DAC circuit. I’d go for the last option, and that company started shipping a small board to use in place of the resistor pack.

As for managing things, there are things such as the Serenity Prayer and the teachings of folks like Stephen Covey. For instance, Covey says that everyone has a Circle of Resources and a Circle of Concern. Whichever circle you focus on grows. So in a healthy situation, your Circle of Resources is nearly as large as the Circle of Concern. So you focus on the positive to gain the resources you need, and no, you might never have enough. And yes, you could theoretically have the opposite where the Circle of Resources is much larger than the Circle of Concern, but in that case, that could be because one is selfish. That could be the “my 4 and no more” attitude. That is not the way of success, since you could be a homeless wino that is passed out in some ditch without a care in the world. That doesn’t help oneself or their fellow human.

Procrastination often stems from either boredom, lack of confidence, or seeing a task as more difficult than it is. Sometimes, when writing a book, for instance, you may get stuck. In that case, one could try writing another section of the story. Then they can see what plot gaps exist and fill them in the sections that should come earlier.

You are right, social, societal, and political issues do cause procrastination. You feel that you might not have the support of others that you might need. You might believe that you’d get canceled, lose your livelihood, etc. You might not know where the legal lines are and how close you take things to make a difference while not getting into serious trouble beyond what you’d find tolerable. There are times to be a martyr, and there are times to let things slide as you get into a position to do something. Plus even propaganda can be what causes you to procrastinate. For instance, you might be held back by fears of being falsely labeled a racist. And you get stuck as you start caring about what everyone thinks. Or you feel shut out of where you intend to make a difference. In that case, IMHO, one has to recenter themselves, shut out the outside voices, and do what they know is right.

I hope some of this helps.

@squashkin
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you have to arbitrarily choose the endpoint

I think in my particular situation, I have some outside “noise” (other people) who have been complaining about the endpoints I am trying to choose, I think. I have ideas of how I want or need to bring certain things to completion, which have been protested against, and other ideas have been lobbied for. But ultimately I am responsible for my life and I need to make the decisions I am accountable for.

I also probably need to just give up on some projects - but the lure of the “I can always come back to it” keeps me hooked.

You might believe that you’d get canceled, lose your livelihood, etc.

that’s been a whole can of worms as well indeed which has created obstacles that perhaps I forget exist at times because I’m so used to accepting not doing a certain thing so as to manage the risk involved which doing a thing might entail

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