Dealing with a curved ball

I know for a fact, this week could have been better planned and I also know, the curved ball was unavoidable.

I left Perth for the Goldfields on Sunday and returned late on Tuesday night.  I had a session of supervision on Wednesday in Perth which, due to our mutual schedules, I could not rebook.  The two days in Kalgoorlie were a blur.  Folks always turn up for their appointment so it was non-stop.  I saw a lot of folks for their first appointment and that takes more out of me.  Had I been sent my schedule ahead of time, I could have made an effort to include self-care into my day.  I don’t think I even managed lunch on the first day but on the second, made a salad and took it to my favourite spot, under the trees.  I only had a few minutes and not long enough to take out my camera.  Somehow my body and spirit craved just being there, needing to find my groove, in the grove.  I watched the wattle birds, the honey eaters, the magpies and magpie larks and reminded myself that I was returning the next day.  There would be time later in the week for photography.

In the evening I settled down to relax only to find the TV reception had been knocked out after a storm.  Momentarily annoyed I thought best get on to the long list of partially finished reports.  I found the silver lining, I tried to convince myself.  I returned home late on Tuesday night and went to bed with a list of tasks I would do first thing in the morning.  Feeling I had accomplished a lot in the two days, the reports were ready for emailing.

On Wednesday morning I found my internet was not working.  Four hours later on the phone with the telco and getting increasingly frustrated apparently I need a new modem that will come in a few days or perhaps there’s a problem with the hub.  Being told this didn’t help me when I needed the system to work, the most,  (I did mention this in another post, I can be impatient!).  I returned to Kalgoorlie on Wednesday evening and worked late into the night, catching up on what I planned to do earlier in the day.  Do I feel a sense of satisfaction?  Not a bit!

I’m working solo today.  A colleague will join me tomorrow and we’ll have two solid days of work.  I’m looking forward to that.  I always enjoy her company and we share the same work ethic.  I’ll also have time today to go to the places I love to visit.  This town has a lot of birds!  While working past midnight I heard them chirping in the trees outside my hotel room.  I’m sure they must have been an annoyance to some, for me, they brought on a smile.

The difference between working for others and oneself is starkly different.  I am led by other people’s priorities in one agency,, when I work for myself, I can dictate them.  I can be busier in the latter, but interestingly, feel less stressed, the common denominator being this … self-care.

When I was a government employee one never, ever saw self-care as a necessary part of work life balance.  It was regarded as an indulgence.  I was introduced to the concept of self-care when I worked in a program that required us to be on-call 24/7 for a week a month.  We participated a fun group activity one afternoon a month.  It wasn’t enough.  We lost staff regularly, so often we were on roster for longer periods.  I can recall being on-call 24/7 for six weeks without respite.  I just gritted my teeth and got on with it.  I didn’t realise this but years later my young adults, who were at high school then, told me every time they hear the same ring tone that I had for the roster calls, it riles them.  I feel a sense of disquiet missing the impact of my work, on them.

We have come a long way in how we work.  As a contractor I am expected to state how I manage fatigue.  It is also a professional requirement.  Self-care now fits in seamlessly in my work life balance.

I’m in a cool hotel room right now and know, for autumn, it will hot outdoors today.  I also know it will hot enough for the gum flowers on those boughs I saw to burst into bloom.  Life is much like that.

I’ve just realised how long the post is!  I guess I needed to vent!  If you’ve read the post to the end, hope you find a take home message that resonates with you.

Be kind to yourself and each other.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird

 

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