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April 1, 1968


JAMA. 1968;204(1):65. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140140067016

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At different stages of development we have different attitudes toward time. The small child is totally unaware of it. The older child, although aware, ignores it. The youth begins to feel its pressure, the mature man must contend with it, the old man becomes resigned to its tyranny. Hence, the phrase "I'll do it later" has significance which varies according to the stage. This phrase is often a stock answer whenever something unpleasant looms ahead. It becomes an excuse, used by young and old alike, to avoid doing something. If we avoid it long enough, it may go away. Putting things off may thus be an excuse for not doing them at all, but it usually involves the faith that the deed will be done when time permits. The intent is good.

However, to the reflective mind there comes sooner or later the sudden realization, "No, this I will never