Last time I looked, it was the end of October, and I was having my more-or-less monthly freakout about the apparent acceleration of time. This freakout was particularly acute because of a really big, super important, and utterly unmovable deadline that was already fast-approaching, and that suddenly seemed to be bearing down on me like a bullet train.
And then I lost a week — completely and totally lost a week — to Sandy. And just as things began to return to something like normal — just at the point when I could have gotten things back under control — I began a six-day trip across the country.
I got back last night, and woke up this morning horrified to discover that not only is it now November, but we’re almost a third of the way through November. Not one but two weeks of the rapidly dwindling time to get this project done are suddenly gone. And I’m in that terrifying spot in which I know perfectly well that my manageable-looking to-do list only looks manageable because it’s hopelessly out of date, because it no longer bears any real relationship to what I actually have to get done.
This is the moment when it’s hardest to do precisely the thing I most need to do: Stop. Breathe. Take the time to gather my thoughts and do a thorough inventory of the work ahead. My adrenaline levels have me wanting to sprint wildly in the direction I think I ought to be headed. But I know, intellectually, at least, that I should really be focused on the long run, taking some time now to plan a course rather than plunging blindly ahead.
I’m writing this on the subway, hoping to set the tone for the day ahead, to start in a way that will allow me to keep breathing, even once the running starts.