Before I ever seriously considered being a journalist — and by that, I mean before I started applying to universities and started j-school — my mom got one of those chain emails. I guess journalism was already in my head at that point though, because there was one line that really stuck out to me.
If you want to know the value of a year, ask a PoW who has lost his freedom. If you want to know the value of a month, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby. If you want to know the value of a week, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper. If you want to know the value of a day, ask a schoolboy on the last day before summer vacation. If you want to know the value of an hour, ask a criminal sentenced to death. If you want to know the value of a minute, ask a person who just missed their flight. If you want to know the value of a second, ask a person who just avoided a serious car accident. If you want to know the value of a millisecond, ask an Olympic silver medallist.
Sometimes, it feels like a hamster wheel, meeting deadlines within a week. Get out just enough copy to get ahead before turning around to start it all over again. There’s enough differences in the process – dealing with different people, learning about different things, deciding the best way to tell the story — that makes it enjoyable, but it’s still, always about the deadline within a week.
At this point, I’m finding it hard to think past a week at a time, though there are certain stories that I’m planning, just about into March at this point. I have a vague idea that March and April are coming, because I know of some events that I want to make time for, but I feel like I can’t commit to it, yet. It doesn’t always bode well — trying to get a routine dentist appointment in a city six hours away on two weeks’ notice is not something I recommend — but doing it any other way feels extremely hard for me.
Granted, there are some things that I’m thinking ahead on, though I can break those things down — and yes, I’m being vague one purpose — enough that I’m still taking it one week at a time.
On the other hand, I have to take a week of my vacation in July, it’s just the way it works at my work. Last year, I went to Ontario, but my parents did come up to northern Alberta earlier in the month and I made a comment that it would be neat to go camping with them, because there’s some historical sites just north of here from the Battle of 1885 and I wouldn’t mind seeing those. Now, my dad is asking if I’ve figured out where I want to go during that week. I know which week in July I have off, but it’s driving me crazy that he’s asking. I know that he has to book his vacation, but I finally told them tonight that I would tell them what the dates are by Tuesday and then they could make their own plans. If it works into my schedule at that point, great. If not, then oh well. I really feel like I can’t look that far ahead right now.
I know there’s something to be said for future plans, lord knows sometimes I could really use something to look forward to. But one week at a time. It’s about all I can do right now.