The last few weeks of the year is always crunch time for me, work wise, and I always forget that until I’m in the middle of it, quietly losing my mind through overwork and stress. Every December begins with me making a promise to myself to really embrace the holiday of it all, and by the middle of the month each year, I’m panicking about how I’m going to be able to hit all my deadlines and also find time for Christmas. This has happened on a regular basis for the last few years, and each and every time, I’m somehow surprised by it.
I never learn. I should fix that.
Things this year have been different, in that the pandemic meant that all of the holiday shopping took place online and earlier than usual, which at least shifted stress from I don’t have time to shop, I have three different deadlines to hit before the day’s over to I don’t have time to open these boxes and I can’t even remember what I bought, I have three different deadlines to hit before the end of the day. A change is as good as a rest, according to people who regularly get rests; to everyone else, it’s just regularly exhausting.
What hasn’t been different has been the rush for material, and the juggling of keeping up with the day-to-day workload of news and explainers and op-ed pieces with the traditional year-end content: retrospectives, Best Of lists, and speculation about what lies ahead in any appreciable area. I’d hoped, foolishly, that the lack of a Star Wars movie this year might have eased things, but DC relaunching its superhero comic line and the new Wonder Woman movie on HBO Max put paid to those forlorn hopes.
I’d managed to convince myself that, maybe, maybe I was being melodramatic and things weren’t so busy and stressful this year. And then I told my therapist my recent workload, and she went, “oh boy, that’s a lot. I’m tired just listening to you.” That might be a sign that, all things being equal, I’m a little overwhelmed right now. Tis the season, after all.