From Where I Sit – The Payoff

My body is getting weary and my mind is turning to mush as my work as festival coordinator shifts into high gear.

Each day I start with an intended to-do list with about 25 items on it: the most time-sensitive, critical items. If I were using Steven Covey’s matrix, these items would fall in the Urgent and Important category. Their resolution affects other important factors which affect other important details which affect other important minutiae.

And as much as it feels gratifying to stroke those items off the list, a new list (or two) appears every day. When I’m in danger of feeling confident, all I have to do is look at the countdown clock I insisted be part of our website. Yikes.

Some days, working my way through that list goes like clockwork. People answer their phones and emails. They say things like, ?Yes, of course I’d love to. Is there anything else I can do for you?? It seems the universe conspires to make things fall into place, and we are blessed. Those are the good days.

On other days, phone messages and emails go unanswered. People who committed their involvement need to withdraw. Roadblocks and delays manifest. Shit happens.

Those are the reality check days.

Because of the way I’m hardwired, I get just a wee bit intense. The project takes over my waking life?and affects my sleep. It creates rock-hard knots in my neck and upper back. I imagine the cortisol coursing through my body. Stress? Who, me? My forearms ache from the pain of a repetitive stress injury that flares up with all the hours spent at the computer. The daily activities of life suffer. Exercise, hah! Cooking healthy meals, who’s got time? Just goofing off becomes a foreign concept. Family and friends take a back seat to the work at hand. I even forget to revel in all that has been accomplished because all I can see is the mountain ahead.

So when a friend invited us to attend a minor hockey fundraiser, my first reaction was to say (and believe) that I couldn’t afford the time. I’m so glad better judgment prevailed. The three comedians made me laugh to the point of tears. Their routines were laced with cursing and not at all politically correct, but oh so much fun. The endorphins released through belly laughs dulled the pain for several hours. The vodka highballs helped me forget the deadlines. And winning an authentic Coach purse in the raffle didn’t hurt one little bit, either. Let the record show that I would never pay $300 for a logo-covered plastic purse, but winning it is quite different. This tasteful black and grey one is tangible proof that taking a break for the night can pay off, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.