Have you ever been on a plane during a crisis and had the oxygen masks deploy? I have. It was a morning flight between Perth and Bangkok…the cabin de-pressurised and we had to rapidly descend and divert to Singapore. In the surreality of the moment as the squid-like coils of oxygen masks dropped I looked over and saw two men I recognised from the airport lounge. At eight in the morning, looking half-cut from an all-night farewell party, they’d headed straight for the bar and got stuck into a round or two of pre-flight vodkas with orange juice. Now, as the plane shook violently in the descent, they were sweating and pale, clinging to each other. Flight attendants ran up and down the aisle, oxygenating themselves with portable tanks, while they assisted anyone in trouble, like parents with young children.
At the time I didn’t have children, but I’d always felt suspicious while watching past safety demonstrations of the advice, “put your own oxygen mask on first.” I had a feeling that, in a crisis, that would not be the intuitive choice a parent would make. Now I do have children, and, after years of surviving a variety of small to medium sized crises I think I have finally got the message. Put your own mask on first.
So the school year has started and since we’re doing home-education again this year, what am I doing to keep oxygenated? A few new things. The kids are doing some classes outside of home, that takes the pressure off a bit. Also, I’ve got us organised with diaries and journals. The journals are for thoughts/goals/plans/ideas, and the diaries are for making those happen. One of my goals is to finish the children’s book I’m writing and illustrating. I always feel better when I have a plan.
I would say the most important thing I’m doing this year is putting an emphasis on getting my health sorted out. I’m on a quest to regain sensible eating and exercise habits, and to enjoy doing it. So far it’s going great. I’m following the Paul McKenna program, “I Can Make You Thin,” which sounds daggy as hell, but is not.
Does all this sound like writing is only playing a small part in my life these days? At the moment, I would say yes. And blogging, as you may have noticed, has dropped even lower in priority than that. But sometimes that’s just the way it is, right? You get your oxygen mask on, and once you’re breathing again…