1 Racing to the Finish | Traveling Light Blog by Travel Writer Colleen Friesen

Racing to the Finish


I’m not sure when life first became a race.

Studies show that we begin absorbing our families stress and anxieties from the time we are born or even before. If that’s the case, I think I might have an inkling where this all began…

We went to a great one-man show on the weekend called Medicine. At one point in his excellent performance, he referenced his ego as my ‘stupid friend’.

It’s so true. Our egos are constructs we made long, long ago. Something we built piece-by-piece to help us cope with our families. And people, no matter how great your family was? I guarantee there were issues. We are, after all, human.

Thing is, like the QWERTY keyboard (which is based on manual typewriter functionality – uh, hello??) I have built my ego/personality as if The Rapture is about to happen any second. Why else this need for getting it done now?

The "QWERTY" layout of typewriter ke...

As an example: I am currently typing this while wearing a paper painting jumpsuit. I have Benjamin Moore Stone Harbour blobbed on my glasses and hands. The paint can is on the kitchen counter, the brush wrapped in Saran Wrap. Why? Well, it’s obvious isn’t it?

If I quickly paint the bedroom areas that can’t be covered in a roller, slide over to the computer, write this blog, answer my email and then quickly slide back to do the next chunk of painting, well, hell isn’t that efficient? In between the roller portions I can have my shower and my hair will dry as I paint the next coat.  Answer more emails, whip up some soup and still meet a new friend for coffee at 3 pm.

Are you with me?

Well. I’m not.

Lately, I have been getting much better at going with the flow. I have been more relaxed and able to remember that there is enough time in each day. Reminding myself that there’s enough time for life to unfold as it needs to.

But there are days – like today – when I feel like I have to take that big sheet of life and snap it open. I simply can’t wait for a slow unfolding. Oh no. Gotta go!

After all, I am on a deadline.

Oh yeah. I forgot. It’s self-imposed. I decided I wanted this apartment painted before we left for Mexico in 11 days.  Why?

Well. Why not?

Dead. Line. Hmm.

English: A graveyard in Nagano prefecture, Japan

Have I ever mentioned I love writing? It can take me from that first panicky sentence, down to this last one; these last slowed-down thoughts where I find myself breathing more deeply again.

Ahhhh…think I’ll have a cup of tea.

Enjoy your life. There is always the exact right amount of time.

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7 Responses
  1. Jason Leong says:

    Self-imposed deadlines… I recently suffered one of these torments in making a short film about the children’s workshops Sarah and I did in Mexico. The artificial deadline, coupled with no real understanding of the effort such a task would require (it turns out I’m terrible at estimating creative work) resulted in the anxiety and and disappointment of the work having to be delayed. Twice. In fact, it’s still not finished. But it doesn’t need to be yet.

    You’re absolutely right – there is always the right amount of time. On the flipside though, things will take exactly how long they’ll take. :)

  2. sarah says:

    Where in Mexico, Dearie?

  3. Colleen Friesen says:

    Ah Jason. I think we share some of the same compulsions :)
    What I’m learning and constantly relearning (on a daily basis!) is to put my best effort in to something but to recognize that I also need to back off and let things be. It’s the backing off, that moment of knowing when to let something alone, that is always my biggest issue.
    Oh dear. So many issues. So little time!
    Or as a friend recently pointed out, I don’t need to hang the hotel sign that says Do Not Disturb. My sign needs to instead read, Already Disturbed!

  4. Colleen Friesen says:

    Hey Sarah, Heading down on Feb 15th for two weeks in Puerto Escondido, followed by two weeks in Todos Santos. Can’t wait for that steady sunshine :)

  5. barb says:

    I can confirm that the sun is indeed glorious in Mexico. I think that the other side of the self-imposed deadline nightmare is the difficulty we have decompressing once we are in paradise. Perhaps you will address that subject once you get here. Adios.

  6. Colleen Friesen says:

    Barb. Perhaps it is all about the issue of decompressing – no matter whether one is at home or traveling in Pardise.
    It seems to me that it is all about learning how to turn off the endless chattering monkey-mind that insists on being amused at all costs. Is that the beast you are referring to?
    I am quite sure this issue will come up in more than one blog post!
    Meanwhile, I will recommend the book, Magical Journey by Katrina Kenison. Nothing overly profound, but a nice quiet wisdom about facing one’s fifties and the question of who to be/what to do/now, then & evermore.

  7. Waiting for The Kettle to Boil - says:

    [...] I read this post by brillant writer, and friend, Colleen Friesen, I had to smile. Not only because I pictured her tripping over paint rollers while dashing back to [...]

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