Picture this. It's 5.00pm at the end of a busy day. I grab a cup of tea and prepare to sit down and watch the news on TV with Hanno. I sit down, the phone rings. On the phone is the Maroochydore Library asking for a favour. The person booked to do their talk on Creative Writing is sick and can't make it. Everyone booked via email, so they have no phone numbers to phone participants to cancel. Could I please come over and fill in. I love my local libraries, they give an excellent and worthwhile service to people in our region. I said yes, how could I not. I was just sitting around drinking tea. In the background I could hear applause. LOL
"What time is the talk?" I asked. "Erm, 6 o'clock."
I took off like a rocket. It's a 30 minute drive to get there. I got out of my scarecrow clothes and into something decent, combed my hair, applied lippy, and grabbed what I thought were my notes and bits and pieces from a talk I'd given previously on writing. I arrived at 5.55pm, with no real idea what I'd talk about. The notes I grabbed were a stack of my old Women's Weekly columns. Ahem.
I think it went fairly well. There were 40 eager writers there with some great questions and busy pens taking notes as I spoke. We finished at 7.30pm and I drove home. The next morning I received a couple of emails from people who were there saying how much they enjoyed it. But as I drove home I was thinking about how fragile life is and how quickly everything can change. It reminded me of the time last year when Hanno nearly cut off his hand with the chain saw. One minute everything was normal, the next I was dealing with spurting blood and trying to call an ambulance. Life can change in the flicker of an eye. Note to self: make the most of every day.
I hope there are no more quick changes before the end of the year because even though I'm writing for Penguin again, I'm also winding down for the end of the year. We've started talking about the Christmas holidays and what they will bring. I'm hoping we have a slow Christmas. I want to take time away from writing and the computer and just sit back and relax with family and friends. I want face-to-face conversations, knitting while watching cricket on the TV (hello Sue), pineapple crush with ice cubes clinking and enough rest to fire me up for next year. Because next year is going to be my best year yet. I say that almost every year and every year I'm right.
I think the trick to enjoying the holidays is to be well prepared and to delegate jobs and cooking. Know what you'll serve on your special days and make sure you have everything you need well before Christmas eve. Try to keep calm in the run up to the holidays. But we've all still got plenty of time to organise ourselves, even if you haven't started yet. Just do a bit at a time and slowly it will all come together. Start with a budget, work out your menu, plan your shopping and do your cleaning a few days ahead. And when the excitement of Christmas day is over, I hope you do what I'm going to do - nothing.