Things here have been stressful lately. (I hear you. You're all like "YA THINK?!") Despite the way that I occasionally create stress in my life by accident by trying to get a lot done, it turns out that I really only enjoy stress when I'm in charge of how much there is and when it lets up. This kind? I'm as good at this as I am at bench pressing pianos, and so I have decided to Sort. It. Out. There's a book deadline bearing down on me (almost done I am almost done) I'm still training for the bike rally (holy cow that is only a few weeks away I should be out riding) and the house is trashed (I say trashed but I mean that I am about to be on a reality show). All these things wear on me pretty much equally. (That's a lie. the book is killing me and I am really scared about the rally. The trashed house worries me less. You know what happens if your house is trashed for a while? Nothing, except for you feel sort of bad about it and you can't have people over.)
The thing is, I'm pretty smart. I know what to do when things get ugly. Jen calls it "going nuclear" and she doesn't mean like the bomb, she means like a family. Drilling down to just the basics - because when it feels like things are crazy, the first thing to go is the ability to identify priorities. What's that great quote from Natalie Goldberg? "Stress is an ignorant state. It believes everything is an emergency."
The thing is, everything isn't. The book really is. The Bike rally really is. The trashed house well, it's approaching an emergency, but I still feel like there's some wiggle room there. (You can't smell it, so that has to mean we have some time.) I sat down a few days ago and thought about what was making me crazy, what was actually functionally important, and what absolutely was not - and then I tried to make things as good and sensible and orderly as possible. I mean, yeah, there's stuff I have to do, but what would be wrong with doing it all as nicely as possible?
In the end I came up with this plan: I will get up early each morning, and put on my riding things and leave. I'll do my 2 hour training ride straight off each day so that no matter what else happens, I know I can't end up screwed for the rally, panting helplessly like the middle-aged crap scene I'm so afraid of being while trying to catch up with a peloton of gazelle-like young men on carbon fibre bikes who have so much less body hair than me that it's actually unnerving.
(That's the Humber river, if you're the sort that cares.)
So far, so good. I rode for two hours on Sunday and Monday, and met up with Jen this morning to ride for 50km. (That's two and a half hours, if you're wondering. We are dedicated, but not fast.) If I can keep this up for the next few weeks - along with longer rides (100km) on the weekends, I should be okay. Not a gazelle, but okay. I'm okay with being okay. I just don't want it to kill me.
The book? That solution was actually easy. The art of writing is really more the art of showing up and sitting at your desk until it's done, and other than how hard it is on the heart to sit there for hours and hours, It's pretty doable. Still, if you're trying to lower your stress?
Check it out. I've got an office set up in the backyard, for several hours a day - or at least as long as the sun is shining. I've got my laptop, the shade of a big tree, some knitting nearby, so I can knit while I'm thinking, and yeah -that's a beer, and yeah, I'm going to drink it in the afternoon, and you know what else? It's going to be awesome.
The knitting- there's two kinds there, to make sure all my knitting needs are met, and we can talk more about that tomorrow. The trashed house? Yeah, that's still a problem, but let me tell you this. You can't see it from the backyard.