At the beginning of this summer I set an intention: to have every day feel like a vacation day. To my great delight, this summer has been full of wonderful adventures. I’ve been to beautiful gardens, toured other cities and cohousing communities, enjoyed fun filled gatherings with family and friends, went whale watching off Vancouver Island, hiked in the mountains, camped in Paradise Valley, and canoed down an almost raging river (my sister called them ripples, but I swear they looked like rapids to me). Heck, I even enjoyed wonderful vacation days lounging in my back yard. … Until today.
When I got out of bed this morning, it didn’t feel like a vacation day. 🙁 It felt like a workday. After weeks of resisting, I had finally agreed to do the annual review (2009 and 2008) of our community’s books – a throwback to my days as a financial controller and auditor. Accounting is a job I’ve come to dislike and I resist committing to accounting projects whenever possible. So it was with a great deal of trepidation that I contemplated what I’d committed to. I expected that this project would take at least 50 hours over several weeks – not the usual good feeling generating, deeply satisfying coaching, writing, socializing and internet training work that I generally fill my days with.
I knew I had to shift my attitude. My mantra is, after all, “Joy First. Then anything else I have time for;” enjoying my journey through life is a high priority for me. So I asked myself, “How can I look at this situation in a way that feels better?” Lying on the trampoline, watching the clouds pass by, I pondered this question. Finally, a new perspective came to mind.
What if I approached this accounting project as a vacation? How could I make this project a thrilling vacation?
As in more traditional vacations, I would allow myself to decide the daily agenda (today customer receivables, tomorrow the capital fund). I could still “follow my energy,” by selecting those attractions (accounts) that I felt like doing at that moment. I could decide when to start and when to stop. I would make a point of seeking out interesting people with interesting stories to tell (especially about what happened to the money). I could play detective (“excuse me, madam, what were you paying for with that cheque?”). I could challenge myself by working on puzzles (“whatever happened to that government rebate we were supposed to get two years ago after that lighting efficiency upgrade?”) And oh, what a thrill I’d experience when I finally got to see the community’s QuickBooks bank balance actually agree with the bank statement.
Yesterday I worked from 2 PM to 2 AM (with a few detours along the way.) Gosh, it’s turning out to be quite the adventure: going from sight to sight (account to account); mingling with the locals (neighbours); discovering new things (like the creative new way one of the teams has come up with to raise some money for special projects); and getting new ideas (from my neighbour’ new organizing assistant). And even better, beyond some initial volunteer hours, I will actually get paid to do this! It’s a paid holiday! Wow! And, oh, be still my beating heart, we now know exactly how much money we have in our community’s bank account.
Looking at my accounting vacation this way really does make me feel better about doing a job I’d rather not. But enough detouring now, I need to get back on the main road. I’ve got places to go, people to see, puzzles to solve.