One of the things that kept me going through the long months of work on the festival was the notion, the appeal, the promise of a well-deserved break when I was done. It seems I said no, mentally or verbally, to a lot of interesting and exciting possibilities this summer. I did what I needed to do but backed away from the frivolous, the fun, the spontaneous. I lost chunks of days, weekends, and whole weeks to my work.
Was this self-imposed sacrifice necessary? Impossible to judge. How could I know if taking some well-earned R&R meant I would have been back more creative and refreshed than ever, or if some crucial detail would have been lost? So I erred on the side of the anal, detail-oriented workaholic lurking within me, the woman who believes that when you give your word you move heaven and earth to deliver.
Now, a few weeks later, I’m starting to sleep without the night filled with thoughts of the festival or middle-of-the-night trips to the computer. I’ve had Grady over for a couple of sleepovers because he’s the ultimate distraction. Hell, I’ve even spent time outdoors soaking up the unbelievable late summer-early fall weather in Alberta.
But my work for the festival is not done. I’m applying for a federal heritage grant whose application form is 22 pages long. I’m doing up the financials and completing post-event reports. I’m laying the groundwork for next year.
Plus, the 2013 harvest still looms. At the time of writing, we have yet to combine a bushel of grain. I try to be in a state of readiness, but until it actually begins?and more importantly, ends?it is a worry.
This fall is also municipal election time in Alberta. So unless Roy is in by acclimation, there will be a campaign to run in addition to everything else.
And all of that is why I still can’t take that coveted break. That is why my travel folder bulges with articles and packing tips but remains unread. That is why I dare not look at seat sales or see how far our Choice Rewards can take us. That is why I didn’t leap at Hilary’s suggestion that we finally book that trip to New York this fall. The kid’s a genius. She gave me a gift card from Century 21. If I want to use it I need to get to the Big Apple (though she’d probably take it off my hands if I never got there myself).
We talked about a trip to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. It never happened, and frankly, I’m choked. Where does the work end and the fun begin? How do I save myself? How do I reward myself? Is this the definition of delayed gratification? Is this how everyone lives? Sometimes being a grown-up sucks, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.