Getting a Handle on January

Outside the weather is cold, gray, wet. That is not helping the moods indoors. I range from determination to anxiety as I contemplate all the tasks I must do this month in order to keep all the necessary business things moving forward at the pace required to meet deadlines. There are external factors in all of those deadlines. I already know which deadlines to let slide if I have to in order to meet more critical deadlines, but I don’t want any of them to slide. They’re there because I want things to be complete.

This week I get to ship packages containing the Pristine Seventy Maxims book. It is the first taste of completion. For some people their Kickstarter will finally be complete. Others will have to wait until next month when the Defaced Seventy Maxims books arrive. Still others will be waiting a bit longer for the full Planet Mercenary book. Fulfilling our promises to all of these people is the primary business task of the year. There are lots of moving parts to making sure that happens.

Sometimes I look at the calendar and despair because a week of the year is already gone. Other times I have to remind myself that I am only just past the first week of the year. I’m not out of time.

Along side the business priorities I have priorities related to family and community. I must set boundaries around these things. I can’t let business swamp family or community, but I can’t allow other things to disrupt business too much. This calls for a hundred judgement calls per day where I have to decide what is most important for the next fifteen minutes.

A new semester begins for two kids on Wednesday. Their schedules are being shuffled around. They can shake off the stresses of last semester and start a bit fresh. For Patch it means three homeschooled classes instead of just one. We don’t know how that is going to work quite yet. The last bits of the old semester caused quite a lot of stress last week. Unpleasantness and disruptions all around. Hopefully we can soon develop a better rhythm.

I’ve also begun my new church calling. I’ve been asked to serve as part of the compassionate service committee. This is the core of service in our congregation. It is our job to identify who needs help, whether it be meals, rides, company, resources, or anything else. Then we try to connect people with the help that they need. Sometimes it means asking others to be the helpers. Occasionally it means being a helper myself. It is important work and it fits right in with my goal to grow my heart. I would argue that helping people directly around us is essential work, particularly when the country’s political landscape is poised for upheaval. Whether the results of that upheaval will be good or bad, it is impossible to say from this vantage point, but I can guarantee that the process will create personal hardship for individuals. Change always does. So I need to be watching and helping.

And the helping will help me. With my heart not feeling quite so tight, I will be less afraid.

I could do with less cold and with longer days. January always gets to me. So I just need to hunch up and plow on through. Each day brings tasks closer to complete. Each day is an opportunity to serve. Each day the sunlight lasts a little longer. I have 22 days left in this month. I need to use them well.