Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hell Week

I'm finding meditative comfort in the Susan B. Anthony quote at the top of my blog page. I found it while sniffing around the web for a quote to share with a friend - a historian with specific expertise in the field of the second wave of feminism and the American women's rights movement - on the occasion of her birthday.

It is a Hell Week at work - I have evening obligations every night this week, and am launching two new programs at the office. I also have two fairly high profile grants I need to start working on, including one for the Microsoft Partners in Learning program. Oh! And I'm trying to jump start a viral marketing campaign related to another grant floating out there in the universe.

I tend to work fairly hard, but not long, hours. I am smart and quick, and am therefore able to get enormous amounts of thoughtful work done in a short period of time. I would guess I normally work an average of 45 hours per week. Having evening obligations every night means that I will work closer to 55 hours - a steady 12-14 hours each day. This means I have less time for exercise, healthy eating, relaxing, and myriad other things I do to keep myself balanced. I don't yet have good coping mechanisms for these long weeks, as I do them so rarely.

Which brings me back to Susan B. Anthony and her inspiration.

How will I handle the rest of this week?

Imagining life as measured by the ordinary moments, will I fly off the handle when someone tosses an unexpected project in my lap when I feel like I don't have space to add one more thing? Will I martyr myself, sigh, and say, "Of course I can get this done. Not a problem." Or, will I say, "Thanks, but my plate is full this week. I hope this can wait until next week?" When I'm hungry because I haven't made the time eat, will I run into the kitchen and snarf cookies? Or, will I give myself permission to walk away from my desk and find something healthy to eat? I understand that the hardships I describe are irrelevant compared to the hardships faced by many. (Keeping life in perspective is also important when the danger is that I'll get caught up in the anxiety, pressure, and excitement of the week.)

If I am to make it through the week fully myself, I want to be able to greet that stray dog who ambles through my life with an open heart and an open hand. How will I do that?

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