Motivation (noun): the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

Oh man, I think, horrified after realizing that I’ve been staring at a blank word document for the past half-hour, Malala Yousafzai would be so ashamed of me.

I could chalk all my postponing down to the fact that I’m gathering my thoughts but the thoughts are still astray and the real truth is that the blinking of the cursor is hypnotic in the sense that that it seems impatient — “any day now”….which is true. Any day now, I’ll hunker down and finally type my essay out because that’s what people do: their work. They do their work. The problem is not that I don’t want to do it. It’s just that I don’t want to do it right now. Or tomorrow. Or the next day. If I can distinctly imagine any time in the near future, I don’t want to do it then either.

It would be less of a problem, I think, if I didn’t prop myself up as some sort of prodigy, a virtuoso in the art of You-Name-It. My giant ego and addiction for praise doesn’t really mesh well with the fact that I am — at best — temperamentally studious. This state of being is what my best friend calls theoretical perfectionism: “the mentality of a perfectionist, and none of the drive.” Yet all of it leads me here, in contemplation on motivation that also serves as an act of procrastination from doing my work (caffeine and irony are my life fuels, I swear).

“Why haven’t you done it?” Well that’s easy, beyond easy, so easy it’s suspicious, like an exam question that makes you wonder if there’s some trick. I can make up a million excuses for why I “just haven’t gotten around to [insert thing I should be doing here] yet.” But the trick in the question is really the truth: that I should have done it already, and I’m being a disgustingly selfish, undeservedly over-privileged person about it.

All I’m saying is that I take everything for granted, and far too often. I forget, in my life where real troubles are few and far between, that my path was made only by the thousands of footsteps of fellow women who marched down the road before me. Shut-ins and sit-outs were held by women for the right to vote — a 100-year struggle that ended nearly as long ago as the fight itself lasted — and all I have to do is walk down to a building and fill out a form, a process that might take me half an hour tops, not eight hundred and sixty-four thousand. And yet I haven’t even read the voter information packet.

Rallies were held for the right to an education, and women were an afterthought in the process until our parents’ lifetime. Even today, somewhere in the world a girl thinks of education as only a dream, and here I am daydreaming in order to escape mine. Malala Yousafzai would be so ashamed of me.

If all of this doesn’t ring something in you, just do it for yourself. You too can be “that guy” at cocktail parties (a.k.a. Introvert Hell) with embarrassing ‘in-the-know’ jokes such as “The Ninth Circuit? More like the Ninth Circus, am I right?!” (Cue stilted track laughter). But for all that is good, in the motivational and slightly fed-up advice of the Greek goddess of victory: Just Do It.

So go vote. I don’t care if you’re a cynical youth with “Fuck the System” tattooed across your face. Do it for the people who had to struggle for something you take for granted. As for me, I’m going write an essay, and I’ll keep those who still have to struggle for this privilege in the back of my mind. It won’t be easy; it never is. But it’s a hell of a lot easier when I resolve myself that “any day now” is today.

When in doubt, Elena Salcido asks herself: WWMYD?