In answer to this question, I wrote a stunningly brilliant post. It was cool and witty, and was a lot of fun to write. I hope it would have been a lot of fun to read, too, but we’ll never find out. Alas, in the middle of trying to edit the NaBloPoMo badge at the bottom of the post, it was somehow utterly lost, converted entirely to the content of another scheduled post, never to be seen again. I am rather frustrated by this, because, really, it was cool. THERE WERE POP CULTURE REFERENCES, PEOPLE! POP CULTURE!
But, since I can’t get it back, I guess now we test how well I work under pressure, right? Or at least how well I work while extremely frustrated and on the verge of cussing out the ENTIRE internet.
In a half-baked attempt to recreate what I had arduously written, having worked out what I wanted to say whilst soaking my sore muscles in a glorious mineral salt and tea-tree bath (good for the muscles, stress, and that pesky lupus rash that continues to plague me. Maybe I need another?), I will note that I made reference to different types of pressure that come to mind.
When I think of “pressure,” the first thing that comes to mind, other than the awesome synthesizer action of Billy Joel and the Queen/Bowie combo, is the pressure canner I’ve been dreaming of owning for over a year now. Then there’s the pressure of hands on muscles in a nice massage. You know the pressure? First it almost hurts, then EVERYTHING FEELS WONDERFUL. And last but not least, is the big warning! Contents under pressure! This is your captain speaking. We may experience some slight turbulence and explode.
So, my well-formed and thought-out answer to the question “do you work well under pressure?” is a firm, solid, and resounding “uhhhhhhhhh………… that depends…………..”
In the past, I would have said that I THRIVED under pressure, that I worked best under pressure. In the past, that was probably true. But I am older now, and mostly, I want to be able to do things on MY terms. I am not sure that’s really my desire, but you follow, right? My life has more demands, more stress, more issues, more concerns, and a lot more pressure now than it did when I “thrived under pressure.” Right now, pressure is a state of being. Sometimes I think that I had better come out of all of this a diamond instead of just a lump of coal.
Understand that what I mean here is that, when I was younger, I had only myself to worry about, and I barely did THAT. I LOVED deadlines and heavy workloads. I lived for a good challenge. Now? I am older, I am sicker, and I have a lot of responsibilities that are more “pressure” than you can imagine til it’s too late. I wouldn’t trade it though, except for maybe the “sicker” part. That I would trade. But I can’t, and so….
But really, it does depend on the type of pressure and how I am feeling that day.
Like a pressure canner, with the right amount of the right kind of pressure, I am sure I can be preserved to last for a long time (and be pretty darned tasty, too, if my amish jarred beef recipe is to be believed). But with the wrong kind of pressure, it’s not pretty. I just sort of break. I can’t function. I can’t cope. I just want to hide.
Deadlines scare me a little bit now. Not a lot, and not always, but they do give me more anxiety than they used to for sure. And the wrong KIND of pressure to do something, even something I actually want to do, will just about guarantee that it will NOT get done. I don’t know why that is, either, but I may have to delve into that part of myself later.
But the other pressure? The hands-of-massage pressure? I’ve got some friends that help me out with that. I’ve got a friend who “pressures” me lightheartedly to, for example, clean my carpets when I really want to do that, but am tempted to just watch old episodes of Supernanny instead. She’s not REALLY pressuring me. She certainly won’t judge me or give me a “bad grade” if I DON’T steam clean the carpets. But I want to do it, and I want to show HER that I can do it, because it’s fun to sort of work together on the project, even though we’re four hours away from each other. That pressure is a pressure under which I STILL thrive. And yes, it hurts at first, and then it feels wonderful. The task is complete (in record time!), and I’ve bonded with a friend. I have a sense of accomplishment AND of camaraderie.