Hot sunny weather: nearly 90 degrees when I headed out to meet Holly’s bus yesterday afternoon. All my usual weekly deadlines plus a few unexpected assignments. A class gift to plan, a teacher appreciation luncheon to organize, an invitation for an end-of-the-year coffee to issue to the library volunteers. An email to send to my friend in Denver in hopes that she’ll meet me at the airport during my long layover there at the end of this month. All that plus the overwhelming desire to finish unpacking the boxes that remain untouched two months after our move: yes, we are definitely closing in on the end of the school year.
Of course, the wish to unpack boxes doesn’t seem directly related to the encroaching last day of school, but the connection is the same as the one I make to my unusually high rate of productivity in my work life lately: knowing that the kids will be on vacation soon, I’m intrinsically motivated to work harder and faster and get more done before school ends for the year. Additionally, I’m leaving for the Aspen Summer Words writers’ conference a week before school gets out, so I have an even earlier end-of-school-year deadline than usual. Ideally, I’d like all of these things wrapped up before I leave for the conference.
Not that my work will come to a stop. I’ll have my usual newspaper deadlines and miscellaneous client assignments throughout the summer, and that’s a good thing: it means I’ll continue to get paid throughout the summer as well. But I’m trying to get a little bit ahead now, and yesterday I found it particularly satisfying to figure out ways I could make the upcoming weeks easier for myself. Rather than planning my lead feature just for next week’s arts column, I penciled in ideas for the next four weeks. And I promised another client that I’d have an assignment done even earlier than he asked for it, just to get it off my plate before I’m really in a pre-departure crunch time.
Meanwhile, the non-work components of wrapping up the school year demand attention at every turn. My friend Lori and I are co-chairing the teacher/staff appreciation luncheon next week: we need to be sure we have enough entrees, salads and desserts to serve 150. As room parent for Holly’s class, I have to collect donations for a small gift for the teacher and remind the kids to work on their scrapbook pages. My friend Leigh and I coordinate the library volunteers and feel obligated to host an end-of-year coffee for them every year; we need to hurry up and get that on everyone’s calendar.
Plus we’re getting into vacation season, which means there are more far-flung friends with whom to try to catch up at more locations. I’m trying to schedule a beach visit with my college roommate, a time to see a California friend who will be in Boston in early July, and drinks later this week with an acquaintance who is visiting from South Dakota and wants some advice on a writing project.
And those still-unpacked boxes that have sat untouched since the end of March are starting to annoy me. Before I leave town for the conference, I really want to have our entire living space box-free.
So it is most definitely June, and most definitely a busy time, and yet I wouldn’t want anything to be different. It’s a busy, sociable time with plenty of motivation to stay ahead of the game. And right now, that’s what I’m busily trying to do.