Small hours of peace and quiet

Stress toy – I need one

I must admit, I struggle at this time of year. It is nearing the end of summer, the supposed time for holidays, rest and relaxation yet for the last four years this period has not lived up to its promise. Not for me at least. All because of #CyberFest.

I forget now why we decided on September as a good time for a conference, probably something to do with when the university buildings would be available (and free). It may have also been a time that seemed a long way away from when the decision was made, the premise for many such decisions. I do, however, remember when we decided to move from one event to a festival. Over the years it has grown from half a dozen events at the start to twice as many for this year.

What I hadn’t realized was the effect it would have on my life leading up to the events themselves. The first year was dreadful. I would wake up in a cold sweat, worrying that nobody would turn up and that it would all be a disaster. I should have had more confidence in myself as it was clear it was going to be a success as soon as people started arriving at Northumbria University for the first one.

Last year brought an added dimension of stress as we went from a series of planned physical events to online only. As the weeks went by each event was pivoted from something that we were used to to a new format, yet again things went smoothly, in the main. These changes didn’t help my angst though. Around 3 or 4 o’clock is a dangerous time for me. If I wake up then it’s almost impossible for me to get back to sleep. The weight of things to do, the fear of things forgotten and the feeling of impending failure set adrenaline coursing through my veins. My heart races and I feel physically sick. I have two choices, toss and turn until a reasonable time, or get up. 

It’s amazing what you can do in the small hours of peace and quiet.

What of this year? Well, I haven’t been so bad. It has only been in the last couple of weeks that the waves of panic have been washing over me, even though hybrid events and zoom fatigue have thrown a new spanner into the works.

Perhaps I am getting used to it, though part of me hopes not. If it doesn’t make me squirm then it might mean that I no longer care.

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