Building in Breathing Room

It’s been a crazy week and a half since the end of my vacation (which was supposed to end two days earlier but tell the weather system that shut down a whackload of flights out of JFK and pelted the rental car we eventually opted for with hailstones the size of walnuts). Every time I think I have a handle on matters? Life intervenes.

One kid’s gotten sick. One dog’s gotten sick. There was a student crisis to address. Those are just the tip of an iceberg that’s had me waking up in the middle of the night more often than not as well as running from pillar to post in our city of far-flung destinations. Colour me exhausted: a situation that’s rather scary considering the start of term is still three weeks off!

At the office, today, I chatted with a colleague about our summers and I was struck by his wisdom. With a busy family life, they’d not only opted to not travel (a choice that sounds delicious to me in retrospect) but they’d also taken a long hard look at a big home renovation issue they’d thought to tackle and said “Not right now.”

You’ve got to build in breathing room for those inevitable moments when life tackles you at the knees and brings you face-first to the ground. (By the way, the dirt tastes awful: it’s been a dry summer hereabouts.) I’m taking a look at my schedule and seeing what I can weed back out of it which isn’t much, but still: every little bit helps. Not just for the last few weeks of summer, leading up to term, but through the fall and winter, I’m going to remember to build in and protect some of that breathing room in my schedule.

I’m still keeping up with my Write Early, Write Often program and am happy to say that I got another four thousand words done on two projects over the last four days. I have two editorial projects to plow through by the end of the week. These need to be done now but does everything else? Not so much!

I’m not going to kill myself to get those course outlines finished this week when two weeks from today will do just fine. Breathing room: it’s important and worth protecting!

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