I’m writing this as I sit on a bus headed for New York.

Today is Feb. 28, 2015, and as I pondered that fact nearly 10 minutes ago, it occurred to me the deadline for the summer job I had decided I would apply for has officially passed. It actually may have passed a week ago — all I remember about the deadline date is that it was in the February 20s. Needless to say, I did not apply.

For as long as I can remember, deadlines have had a towering symbolic and practical influence on my life. I fear them like death. If I were to calculate the number of deadlines I’ve feared, multiplied by the average amount of fear each one has generated, it may be true that I’ve experienced more collective fear over deadlines than I have over anything else in my life. This, I think, is an accurate way of describing myself.

Fearing deadlines is an odd thing to do. They exist, require a certain amount of work and then they pass. They are a wholly known part of adult (and adolescent) life. Most things we fear, we do precisely because of their obscurity: our futures, death and sequels to movies we love. These things could go either way. Deadlines — not so much. Their primary function is to demystify, to alert to a person exactly what, when, where and how many words to expect. Why be scared of something so predictable, so transparent?

The truth is my relationship with deadlines is getting healthier. We’re starting to give each other a little more space, and we don’t get so mad anymore when one of us messes up.

The famous quote on deadlines is from Douglas Adams, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” I reluctantly regard deadlines with anything close to love, because they are forever the Devil’s grip on my life, but I’ve come to enjoy the same whooshing sound when I don’t end up making them.

First, there is a sense of regret as another opportunity passes by. This feeling doesn’t last too long in me. Instead, it makes way for a kind of happiness and relaxation, like there is a cosmic peace in the fact that there’s nothing more I can do. It’s the kind of satisfaction that John Mulaney talks about in his joke about when adults cancel plans. When I miss a deadline, I want to put my slippers on and watch a movie.

This is, by most standards, is a terrible way to think about deadlines. But hey, at a school whose culture demands that you structure your life as a series of due dates, I’m happy to be the weirdo who smiles as they whoosh by unaddressed. Sometimes.

I think a few years ago, in high school, I got the kind of anxiety-ridden motivation that a lot of successful people get from deadlines. I think I still got it coming into college. Missing a deadline was something I did occasionally, but it was a terrible thing, and I was much more likely to stress about it and then stay up all night getting what I had to do done. To some extent that’s still true.

But now I think I’m just getting tired. I value sleep, good music and hanging out with friends more than I used to — maybe a little too much. Sometimes, I miss chances to apply to cool jobs, but I also miss a lot of miserable isolated nights spent agonizing over simple application questions, and that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t wish those upon anyone.

Here’s an offer you should never take: if you’re ever stressing over a deadline you have to meet, come to my apartment. We’ll watch a movie.

William Fonseca is a junior in the College. Spring Semester Days appears every other Monday on thehoya.com.  

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