Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Payback


The end of my trimester is approaching this Friday.  I also have six tests to grade before then.  All this means that last week I had to spend almost every free moment getting absolutely caught up on class preparation, so that I’d be able to handle the grading this week.    

Obviously, due to my paid work-load, my unpaid work-load (aka: editing) was completely neglected. 

However, on Thursday, I did have a half day at work, for a school festival.  My brother happened to be free also, so we decided to go out on the town for shopping, a movie, pizza and drinks.  I bought gifts (all my friends somehow are born in March); he bought a new suit.  We watched Jack the Giant Slayer in theaters, and even if the movie was a bit predictable, it was wrapped up in an agreeably mythic setting which pleased my inner literary critic. 

Posh Pizza!
Next we ate pizza at a newish artisan place near where we live.  I had pesto-chicken pizza; my brother had what was amusingly dubbed the ‘Honey Badger.’  As suggested by the name, it had a very slight drizzle of honey over the top which perfectly complimented the spicy salami and black pepper on the pizza.  Delicious!  Afterwards, dessert was required, so we walked to the local resort and had a dark chocolate cupcake with seriously an inch of ganache on top (that was mine), and a towering slice of limoncello cake with white chocolate frosting (that was my brother’s). 

It was a decadent and refreshing evening. 

Afterwards, I was thinking about my dearth of editing.  As usual, I wondered if I should feel guilty for not staying home on my free afternoon and working.  After all, I could easily have finished 6-8 pages in the time I spent gallivanting around town. 

Butterflies have exquisite balance!
However, I realized that putting so much effort into my school work had led to two results.  First I needed a break from the grind.  Going out with my brother offered the perfect opportunity.  Second, clearing away so much necessary work has actually left me with unexpected free hours this week, in spite of the grading.  See, even if six tests take about twelve hours to grade, and it’s a lot of intense work, that still leaves me with time every evening.  Since Monday already I’ve edited eight pages of my novel. 

So thinking about that, I realized that everything balances. 

At the time when you’re slogging through some work project (in my case, writing three history lessons, 12 grammar lessons, 5 vocabulary lessons and several tests), the lack of progress on writing can lead to some grumbling and bitterness.  In your spare time, you may crunch in some work, but the fact that you’re already tired might make it rather unprofitable and uninspiring. 

Based on my recent experience, my advice is:  Put your head down, get your work done, and don’t worry about other projects.  It can be a good feeling to have accomplished a lot at work, after all.  Besides, once you are done with the big push, you get to enjoy the virtuous feeling of writing without stealing time from anything else.  I don’t know if anyone else is guilty of this, but I certainly am!

I think to a certain extent we all borrow and steal from various parts of our lives so as to give other parts more time and importance.  I personally have no qualms about this – it’s part of a budgeted life in some ways – but still…every once in a while it’s nice to have the feeling that we’re perfectly in the right when we sit down to our creative endeavors. 

Life involves a lot of hard work (and some frustration to go along with that).  It’s good to have moments occasionally when we feel that we’re paid back for the efforts we make. 

Butterflies in the dark!
Such moments can be a sudden respite in the middle of a busy week when we spend time with friends and family.  On an outing, our eyes may be opened so that we glimpse something lovely that we might not have seen if we stayed home and worked.  This past Thursday, I saw a window of the local paper store glowing in the night with a hundred paper butterflies aflutter in long strands. 

Such moments can also be the feeling of satisfaction and peace that comes after a job well done.  Then we can turn to a new project – perhaps one closer to our hearts – with excitement and contentment.  At these times, we learn how life does in fact find its balance.  Then in the future when busy times return, we can survive them thanks to the wisdom we’ve gained.  

3 comments:

  1. good luck with the editing! I like your timely reminder to myself that everything has its place - there is the right time for everything... thank you!

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  2. Balance...different scales for different stages of life. I like balancing my grandson on my knee. I like being available for caring for him - He's not yet three, but he's a smart one. I enjoy spending time with him. I like sleeping too. But I've gotten up earlier to make time, balance time to write. Some days I'd like to just crawl under the covers, especially when it is cold. But one can get dressed in layers. Balance. A magic word indeed.

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    1. It IS magic! I don't know where we'd be if we weren't all trying for balance in some way or another. Your grandson sounds darling - I'm glad you get to spend time with him :)

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