The New Thing



One of the most disorienting places I’ve ever been was this hotel in Adelaide I visited last year. It’s one of those places that had the kind of endless sameness you get in movies when they point a camera at a hotel corridor and make it seem like a subtly alien kind of place. I stepped out of the lift and looked down the hall and said whoa all Bill-and-Ted-like.

Then I hit my room and my room was huge (I got upgraded) and my plans for the evening rapidly became lie around this here room and marvel at the craziness of it, cause you’ll never be in a hotel room this huge and weird again.

And that’s what I did.

I ducked out to grab some fast-food, ’cause eating fast-food in a room like that seemed like the kind of sacrilegious that needed to be performed, just as I may have busted out a whole bunch of punk songs just to see how out-of-place they were when played in a venue like that. Turns out the acoustics in the room where kind of great, which made up for the somewhat dodgy speakers on Shifty Silas the Laptop.

I spent a lot of time in hotel rooms last year, ’cause I spent a lot of time on the road for work and personal reasons.

It seems crazy that I’m doing even more of it this year, but it seems that’s the case. There’s exactly three months this year where I’m not going to be boarding a flight to somewhere, and I fully expect that at least one of those months will end up with my flying for work as we start getting into the Writing Festival season.

I don’t usually travel that much.  My sister loves it, as do my parents, but it was never really my thing. I’ve never owned a suitcase, ’cause most of my trips could be done by throwing clothes into a small bag, and the handful of times that wasn’t true I just borrowed what I need. That ended at Christmas time, when it became apparent that I’d probably need a suitcase of my own and my family got together and provided one.

There are days when I look at my calendar for this year and say whoaall Bill-and-Ted-like. This year is already looking kind of crazy, and it’ll be May until I get a complete month off from the seemingly endless list of places I’m going and things that need getting done. It’s slowly sinking in that the great irony of going to three days a week is that I’m going to be busier and out engaging with the world far more than I’ve ever been.

Then there’s that thing I always forget: the more you do, the more opportunities you’re given to do more. Which is awesome, but it’s totally not the year I planned around having.

The last month has been heavy on the invitations to do more. Usually this doesn’t bother me – I’m comfortable saying no to something if it does’t fit into my schedule – but at the moment I keep finding myself being unsure about what’s a good idea and what’s not. I have no framework for understanding what I’m still capable of taking on’cause I’m not really sure I understand the shape of my year anymore.

I feel like I’m back in the Adelaide hotel room, trying to enjoy the space for as long as possible ’cause I’ll never find my way into a place this crazy and weird again. My life, it’s pretty good right now, almost ideal, but it’s ideal in all kinds of ways that I’m totally unfamiliar with.

And occasionally I find myself wondering whether it is just this year that’s going to be crazy, or if this is the new thing.

I’m off to the Gold Coast this weekend. Ostensibly I’m there to hang out with my family for a stretch, but I imagine that there’s going to be an awful lot of time spent locked up in the guest room, planning out my year in a little more detail. I expect I’m going to bust out a whole bunch of time-management tools I haven’t actually looked at in a real long time, ’cause I’ve got the sneaking suspicion I need to become a freakin’ productivity ninja to get through this year without making a mess of something.



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