Burning Down the House

Oh, the irony.

There was nothing free about my last freelance job. I am now in a season of writing other people's projects and I have a lot to learn. The nuances of proposals and bids and time management are still clunky. I'm practicing the new juggling rhythm.

My last job seemed simple enough. It was a re-write. Take one article, re-write it four ways. The topic, how to create a relaxing backyard, was right up my alley. The clincher came after all contracts were set. Long story short, I ended up having to write 4 new articles; all original content -- not "re-writes." Four times more hours. Four times less pay. Same deadline. New level of stress. My poor family.

My disposition went sour. Little things set me off. Even the dog kept her distance. Ugly. Really. When I ran out of fresh ideas for relaxation, I had to start researching. In the absolute apex of my stress melt-down, my butt was in the chair and I was forcing myself to read and take notes on various ways to create a relaxing environment. I was finding insightful tips for building your own breathing space. Hammocks. Pathways. Bird baths. Meditating spaces. Flower gardens. Wind chimes. Deep breaths. Because, "Relaxation is a choice."

"Clunk!" The irony hit me between the eyes like a patio brick. I'm writing helpful hints about how to relax and yet, I am allowing this exercise to completely unglue me at the seams. Pay attention. The thing that is causing you the most stress at the moment actually may actually be the gift you need, right at your fingertips. "Relaxation is a choice." Duh. It became funny. I went downstairs to tell Steve and the boys.

They were all posted at the farthest part of the house -- a safe distance from my wrath. I walked downstairs and told them my calming epiphany. I think they were cautious, but relieved to see me smile. After I finished explaining, my son Isaac paused for a second and said:

"It's like letting a stress-free candle burn down the house."

Amen. A word from the wise.

So, next time you're being eaten alive by a stressful situation, think of the candle. We have options: Slow down, find the beauty, take a deep breath -- or burn the whole house down. It's always a choice.

Candle Image from Pottery Barn.
PB Pillar Candles available at www.potterybarn.com


Anonymous said...

Very Good! I think we all spend some of our time on the hamster wheel, running as fast as we can. It's always unnerving to look up and see that the wheel goes no where. But hey, we're probably buff from all that running.

Kleigh (clAy) said...

Yes! Time to get off the hamster wheel and see where it's gotten us!

Debbie Maxwell Allen said...

I can so relate to your post, Kelley! I haven't done the rewrite thing, but I've written so many on topics I'm not that interested in, that it gets me crazy. Hang in there!