Every so often, and even when?no, especially when?your to-do list is a mile long, you need to step back and chill. When the stuff on your plate is spilling over into your dreams, It’s time. When you find yourself making silly mistakes and not catching them, It’s time. When You’re getting cold sores and waking with a headache and catching every germ within miles of you, It’s really time. When a project (like a festival, perhaps) consumes your every waking moment, It’s really, really time.
As I write this, It’s Sunday before noon. I didn’t check email yesterday at all. I didn’t venture near the computer or check it on my iPhone.
I spent Saturday busy from morning until night doing other stuff. I finished transplanting my bedding plants; this year I seem to have gotten the quantity of plants and bagged soil just right. Not counting primping time, I needed three hours to marry a couple and drive to and from their location. A quick change of clothes later and I was on my way, alone, to my mom’s 80th birthday party. Roy had just started seeding and couldn’t swing it. When I returned five hours later, it was time to read and re-watch a TV movie.
Contrast that with Friday, when I drove around the countryside like a madwoman. I needed signatures from a guy, and when I found out he was at the farm for the weekend, it seemed simpler to track him down there than wherever he lives in Edmonton.
I slowed at a blind rural intersection and looked for clouds of dust. Seeing none, I proceeded. A second later and Roy would have been making funeral arrangements rather than seeding. A guy driving a red pickup like a bat out of hell came up so fast I had no time to react?or even have my life flash before my eyes. Instead I thanked God for the ?there are no accidents? (pardon the pun) way he runs the universe. My number was not up Friday.
But I did have to keep driving. For more signatures, more paperwork, to the bank (four times), to deliver lunch to the field, and for groceries and the mail. When it looked like despite my best clear-headed efforts the paperwork would not satisfy the bank, I said to my friend across the desk that I could just cry. ?Oh, no you won’t,? she said. ?You could’ve been killed; instead, You’re still here to feel this pain and frustration. Enjoy it.?
So, with that reminder about perspective, I pulled myself together. I’m trying to be smarter. This event I’m coordinating is a marathon, not a sprint, in terms of time and energy required. I need to do what I can reasonably do, but I can’t kill myself or get sick in the process. Sometimes that means ignoring email and to-do lists. It’s a matter of simply living, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.