Life has its natural cycles; we experience its ups and downs, its routine ebbs and flows. Then there are the ‘king tides’; the personal and professional tsunamis that hit, sometimes without warning.
Personally, I’ve launched into one of the busiest, most daunting times ever. This month we emptied our house and crammed into a unit in preparation for the ‘Great Australian Reno’.
The timing left a lot to be desired. I was working on the major story for this issue, which involved reworking complex (often conflicting) data; copious interviews; detailed analysis and cross-checking. The story had been brewing for some time but, as Murphy would have it, came to a head the same week. We were also in the throes of designing, producing, editing, proofing and writing the rest of the issue, as well as talking with our key clients about their plans for next year.
In between this, I’ve been liaising with our architect, the surveyors, my accountant and builders. Oh, and to add an extra layer to the paradigm, we decided to be owner/builders, which brings its own stresses and tensions.
Trying to cope with everything all at once can be overwhelming and lead to a state of paradigm paralysis…
To top it off, we packed our bags for a quick weekend away for mum’s 70th birthday. (Well, it’s not actually her 70th, she’s about to turn 72… it’s a long story. Suffice to say what started as an intimate family gathering turned into the highlight of the Mudgee social calendar, requiring event management skills that would put most wedding planners to the test.)
Any one of these things in isolation would be enough to fill my days. But for good measure, I’ve thrown in a major project to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis – a cruel, debilitating life-shortening illness that has a profound daily impact on my life. Let’s just say the past month has been stretching. During the day, the pressures and deadlines are intense, but in the small hours, when sleep seems impossible, they loom even larger.
This leads me to the point of my ‘Last Word’ for this month. Everyone goes through professional and personal storms. Sometimes these storms collide. How do we handle the pressures? What coping mechanisms have we put in place? How do we retain our sanity?
There are plenty of strategies that help – like diet and exercise, drawing strength from meditation, faith, family or friends. Venting your frustrations in a diary (or magazine column, if you have that luxury)
can also be therapeutic.
Most importantly, we need to put our personal house in order when all is calm otherwise, when the metaphorical storm hits, we waste precious time running around like Chicken Little.
Trying to cope with everything all at once can be overwhelming and lead to a state of paradigm paralysis. By learning to take a step back to prioritise, and then focus on one thing at a time… we can restore our sanity and be reminded that beyond the chaos, something new and exciting is being created.