One of the reasons for my productivity kick of recent months is the need to balance an extremely hectic lifestyle. My day job is ending at the end of the month, necessitating a lot of long hours, traveling, and delivering back-to-back training sessions. (And, it seems, I will be unemployed come March 1st, with a family to feed: a genuine cause of concern.) My other job is developing a new online high school English course for the Department of Education, which I slot into almost every spare minute in the attempt to finish the contract for next month. Plus, I have a seven-month-old baby that I should really be spending more time with. Add all that up, and you can probably see why I am often overwhelmed by my schedule. Keeping track of it all, and attempting to make the most of every minute, is an ongoing and highly stressful battle.
Yesterday, I had about an hour between training sessions, and I was “around the bay” near Glovertown, on the cusp of Terra Nova National Park. There isn’t much to do in Glovertown, especially in the winter, so I was at a loss at what I might do to fill an hour. I drove into one of the many nearby bays and parked the Jeep to get out and take in a breath of fresh air. The wind had died down to a gentle breeze, and the mild weather was allowing fog to creep in from the Atlantic, smothering the nearby hills and covering the ice flows that reached into every harbour and inlet. From the side of the road, I could see the ice beginning to retreat, leaving large areas of dark, deep, open water.
An odd thing happened. As I stared at the scene, belly-breathing in the misty salt air, getting lost in the blackness of the harbour, I became aware of the tension –knotted tightly into the muscles of my back and forehead– gradually slipping away. My perennial headache released its grasp upon my brain, and an odd feeling of peace swept through me. The ice, shrinking and melting away into the depths of the sea, took on another meaning, one that I cannot fully describe.
I took the above photograph, and will put it into my planner as a reminder that life is not all schedules, deadlines, action lists and endless responsibilities. I think we all need such a reminder, although its nature will no doubt be different for each and every one of us.