Monday, April 02, 2007

Living in Line With My Ideals

I just received the new KnitKnit today. There's an article by one of my favourite artists, Lisa Anne Auerbach, and amongst the many brilliant things she has to say is this line: "Living in line with one's ideals is a wild and cool program."
It was just what I needed to set me straight. A half hour before, I had been wrestling with the request from the people in San Francisco to come out a day early, in time for a meeting - a meeting I would have really liked to attend. But it would mean dropping my plans to take the train (thus reducing my carbon emissions) and instead getting on a plane, which according to popular wisdon will make me responsible for three people dying from respiratory illnesses directly caused by air pollution. (As my mother said pithily: "Too bad you can't choose which ones.")
And it wasn't just the plane thing that was causing me angst. To make the meeting I would have to leave immediately after the Vancouver Swap closes its doors. I was counting on the long train trip to give me some much needed decompression time. As I found myself devouring a chocolate bar (organic, fair trade, of course) at 10 in the morning I recognised the unmistakeable signs of stress. I paced around, wondering who I could call for some advice, and eventually realised this was ones of those times when I would just have to say "No."
I'm one of those people who has a hard time with the "n*" word. Why shouldn't I be able to do everything I'm asked? I just have to be more efficient, less lazy, stop wasting time reading people's blogs, etc. etc. etc. I can always think of lots of reasons why I should be able to handle everything on my plate and feel guilty coming up with reasons why I should back off. But if I was talking with a friend in the same situation, I would say, "You're working too hard - you'll burn out if you keep this up."
So thanks Lisa! Your words of wisdom restored balance to my world. I emailed the people in San Francisco and said, sorry, but I'll have to stick to my original schedule.

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