I've had some major deadlines and been staving off some kind of weird sickness where I only got a semi-dose of symptoms – half a cold, half a sore throat and half a cough. I also had an extremely sore left hip probably for sitting down for longer periods than I normally do – even the regular stretching I do didn't seem to do the trick, although a flying visit to my favourite Bowen therapists did!
I'm usually a very health person, but this time I know what compromised my immunity – pushing myself beyond my limitations to get my work done. Long hours, long days, seven days a week with little let up. Even my beloved colloidal minerals and not-so-beloved cod liver oil didn't shield me from getting sick.
Add to that the vagaries of life's little challenges and well ... you'll soon get the picture. I've been looking after the family farm by myself for the last two weeks in between working on Black Mermaid stuff. I put aside Saturday to print and package up some of our Elf~Fin proposals. They are finicky things with various attachments and appendices, so I really had to tune in to all the detail. I use an Epson laser printer for our submissions and my HP inkjet for drafts (I double side the pages too for the sake of the environment). In the middle of the job, my laser cartridge decided to cark it and I had no back ups. Drove to OfficeWorks which is about 20km (12 miles) away only to find that the replacement cartridge would cost me $229!!! I can get a new printer for that and, in fact, probably will. Turned promptly around after deciding to use the new HP laser printer that someone else on the farm got for Christmas. Did a great job till half way through that batch – again no cartridge backups (I should have learned my lesson by now). Drove back to OfficeWorks on Sunday – the price was a little better this time – only $23.88. Printed it all up and was ready to go.
My only opportunity to send off the packages was at 3pm the next day. I'm just about to get into my car when suddenly an unexpected visitor drops by, and by the time we'd finished talking it was time for me to feed all the farm and domestic the animals.
Finally posted the proposals out today but only after I had dropped two of our cats (Papillion and Pimpernell) over at the Animal Welfare League to get desexed. They're doing fine by the way according to my pm phone call, although they still have post surgery drowsiness. I'll be able to pick them up tomorrow morning.
Why am I telling you all this? Well it's a good lesson about maintaining balance in life – one of my personality traits is that because I'm good at multi-skilling I tend to overload my schedule. Somewhere in the midst of all the frenetic activity my mind/body starts to warn me that I am overdoing it by having me get sick. This has happened to me on three occasions – in 2000 after I had worked for three years in three part time jobs (including Black Mermaid), taken on two office holders positions in a therapy association I had co-founded, and worked on a huge writing project on weekends and holidays. When I finished the book I was elated but exhausted and then I promptly fell sick – five times in that one year – my worse record to date. After that I had a seven year good health run. I was counting in the way that Jerry Seinfeld did in an epsiode where his 14-year old no vomiting streak finally came to an end. I think it was cookies that did it! For me it was a major writing job with horrific deadlines which I met but had to pick up the roles of other people in the publishing team whose work kept dropping out at proof stage. This was prior to the 2007 New York ComicCon where Jozef and I had been scheduled to go and where we needed to do a lot of preparation. I got terribly sick post-convention. The wonderful Colleen Doran had told me there were always a multitude of viruses floating around in the middle of a NY winter and that she had been the recipient of several in the past. Anyway I succumbed to one of the worse bouts of bronchitis I had ever had which kept me coughing, croaking and spluttering and on the edge of hospitalisation through the last days of NY, into my Jersey stay with friends and into the first few days of my Vegas sojourn – I think it was the warm weather there that turned it around. But I think the real source of the problem was the fact that I had been working on adrenaline and once I started to relax (and this happens to a lot of holiday makers!) my immunity wasn't strong enough to bear the influx of these germs and it wiped me out. So anyway ... what's the message? Pare back on the overload, simplify, rebalance, create space and flexibility in your schedule for the unexpected, and honour your body. Will I take my own advice? Time will tell. Keep me honest readers. Keep me honest. More to the point – I have to keep myself honest!