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Voices of the Clarion: Strange days indeed

Changes in life could lead to interesting headlines

Posted: Sunday, May 01, 2005

How appropriate that today is May Day, although I'm thinking more along the lines of "Mayday."

I think I need to be rescued.

My life has become more hectic in the last year. I'm not complaining. In fact, when I have a spare 10 minutes I panic because I'm not doing something.

"I know I'm forgetting to do something! Isn't there something I'm supposed to be doing? What the heck am I forgetting?"

Then I find something to do.

In the last few months, I decided to add to my load by taking on more responsibility at work.

This was a good thing, and recommended by my husband, Mark, so I wouldn't keep taking on teaching more dog classes. He wanted me to expand my horizons in other directions.

I must say it has worked — sort of. I still took on more dog classes, but that's beside the point.

When it comes to my job, I am rapidly learning two things: prioritize and organize.

These have been on my list for some time now, but I haven't gotten around to them yet. I'm too busy learning my new job. But I am working my way down the list to them.

I also am learning that being on the phone all day makes you very behind in getting to that list.

Actually, I am learning quite a bit about myself. I now know I am not as good at multitasking as I thought I was — not that it stops me from trying. It's clear to me I need work in this area by the sometimes blank stares on the faces of my co-workers.

"I'm sorry, what was I saying?"

"You were giving me a story assignment ..."

"Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. Anyway, there's this woman who's been invited to photograph the president and, do you have a paper clip?

"What?"

"Oh, sorry. Anyway, she's being flown in on Air Force One, and, is that the microwave ding?"

I have found that e-mailing works much better for me — it's easier on the reporters, too.

I've also learned I have a harder time delegating things than I realized. It's the whole guilt thing — now that I'm really good at. Most of the time I don't realize I'm not delegating. It's just habit, really. I think I need to do everything, so I try to do everything.

I am getting better at it, though — thanks to delegators anonymous.

Other pitfalls for me have been finding the time to check my 80 gazillion e-mails. Most of them are work-related, meaning I need to devote lots of time to actually reading them. Gone are the days of junk mail when it was a simple "delete, delete, delete."

I miss those days.

All of this newfound stress has understandably wiggled its way into the other areas of my life. Mark has incredible restraint, I must say. I am not sure how I would react to the things I put him through, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be the same as his reactions. Let's just say he is calm and polite. He is a saint.

To top all of this new stress off, I'm getting ready to have yet another birthday.

Getting older isn't necessarily more stressful. However, entering the early stages of menopause is a whole new ballgame.

Now, I don't want to scare any of the younger folks, so I won't go into details. But you older ladies know exactly what I'm talking about here.

All I can say is I'm glad I am working out in the mornings, because if I had no outlet, there would be a lot of interesting stories running in the Clarion.

"Woman bites dog!"

"Woman chases reporters with pen!"

"Woman unexpectedly cooks for husband!"

OK, that last one was a little far-fetched, but you get the idea.

It's such a helpless feeling when you have no control over your emotions. I keep thinking about Holly Hunter in the movie "Broadcast News," when she would find a secluded spot and just bawl her eyes out for five minutes, then she would be over it and get back to work.

I can totally relate. Even though she wasn't much out of her 20s, the concept remains the same on all counts.

It's even harder when it happens at home. Poor Mark.

"Why are you crying? That commercial was supposed to be funny."

"I know, I know. I just can't talk about it right now. Leave me alone."

And this is just the beginning?

When I talk to other women about menopause, the first comment I hear is, "I just don't understand why it takes so dang long to get through it!"

Sigh.

Hopefully, things will click into place soon at work and I can just be neurotic at home. I'm sure my co-workers are praying for that scenario.

Poor Mark.

All I can say is stay tuned for some interesting headlines.

Dori Lynn Anderson is the managing editor at the Clarion.



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