vinylgirl's Diaryland Diary

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Workaholism

I am an over-committer. I've done it for as long as I can remember. If two opportunities pop up, I'll do both even if it nearly kills me. If someone needs a favour, a tremendous favour, I'll do it at my own risk. Even if this tick means I work 18-hour days and sacrifice my health and personal relationships. I don't know how to live otherwise. Up until now I was able to get away with it. I didn't have to say no and disappoint people mostly myself. I think I should be able to do it all. I regard it like a dare or an axiom I must prove wrong.

This year I've said no, backed out, given up and not pursued opportunities. My head is swimming. I do not have enough hours of daylight to do it all no oil to light the lamps at night. I've always known the value of a prioritized to-do list and a calendared plan. What I don't know how to do is find slots for my love, for proper sleep, for cooking, for reflection on one's day and of course exercise is the obvious castaway. I used to love coming home from a stressful day and cracking open a cookbook to make a meal. Stirring, seasoning and tasting were my zen.

Now I feel a pang of panic giving up an hour to cook a meal not matter how famished I am. I would rather slather some peanut butter on toast and eat at the computer. But I have to being eating and planning my next task. I lie in bed at night on my back listening to the whisper of water running through the radiators and examine my mental do-do chalk board. Sometimes I feel the urge to get up and write myself a note or scribble an idea. I don't know how to turn off.

This obsessive planning and attention to detail is what got me where I am. I am proud to be doing my masters at one of the best schools for journalism in Canada. But lately I find myself fantasizing about the simplicity of a trade. Something I don't consider an extension of self, but good way to earn a living. Something I could leave at work. Welding? How many welders lie in bed awake wondering if they could have done a more nuanced job, soldering more precisely. A job is a job. Do it well. Done.

Then again maybe some welders do. Like if they were tired when they worked on a bridge and felt anxious about the quality of their work. But from where I stand every other profession seems less reflexive than obsessive journalism. Talk about a bunch of navel gazers.

Maybe next week I will commit to a work-out schedule. Buy the free weights and the work-out ball. Do a yoga class. Get that massage.

I just need to finish transcribing three interviews and do a story outline and interview sources for my column and write my column and write a 2,500 word feature and do my research assistant work and..

Sigh.

Allison

5:23 p.m. - 02/24/2009

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