The Benefits of Stress

I will admit, right off the bat, that my life has been a whole lot better recently. I fully acknowledge that much of this has to do with the fact that I have not been dealing with the amount of stress that I had previously grown all too acustomed too. A lot of this has to do with the fact that I have not been working.

Yes, I know that this may seem counterintuitive, but I am extremely fortunate in that I am married to someone who is willing to support me while I try to find something the I will actually be happy doing. In the mean time I have been able to focus much more on my writing, on the upkeep of the house, and a number of other projects which have required various amounts of attention.

This also worked out extremely well when Titus had to have surgery in that I was able to take him to all of his appointments as well as being able to stay home with both dogs to make sure that they didn’t take out his stitches or play too rough.

While The Mrs is happy to have me at home (especially the part about being able to come home to a home cooked meal -- we’ve been eating a lot better since I have been off of work), she does worry about finances, especially what would happen if she were rendered unable to work for an extended period of time. Fortunately I have a line on a position which may allow me to work from home and still provide a half way decent income. I do not want to say any more than that because I don’t want to jinx it. Keep your fingers crossed.

My attempts at securing a new position, coupled with a number of upcoming medical treatments (Titus, myself, and The Mrs
3), the deteriorating health of some of my relatives and friends, and the big push towards getting ready for the last convention have reintroduced my old friend stress into my life.

Ah, stress. What a great motivational tool.

At its root, stress is an interesting combination of the fear impulse and our own imaginations. While we may not consciously acknowledge it, a good deal of stress is born in that back of our minds as a question of the what if question.
4 In my own case, this what if question takes the form of “What if I fail? or “What if I don’t complete what needs to be done (or just what I said I would do)?”

In this case, stress can be a beautiful motivator.

Nothing spurs one
5 to action like a looming deadline. While it is nice to take ones time planning something, looking at every angle, trying to solve any problems which could possible arise, once crunch time hits the time for theory is over. Now it is time to abandon what could work or might look cool and focus on what actually will work.

That looming deadline may also cause you to consider things you might not have otherwise thought of. A prime example of this is the costume that I am working on for
Motor City Comic Con. It has to be done by Saturday. However, I will actually be at the con on Friday so it really needs to be done on Thursday. That is just a couple of days away. I have been working on how I am going to get the wings to work for months. A few moments ago I looked at a feathered wreath I picked up over the weekend, then at the picture of the character I am trying to recreate, then back at the wreath. I realized that by breaking the wreath in half and reforming it in an S configuration I had the shape of the wing where it connected to the shoulder. It is almost a perfect match.

One sigh of relief later, I had two wreaths broken in half. Then I realized that the feathers were on the same side, no matter how I turned them. This meant it worked perfectly for the left wing but was completely wrong for the right wing.

I took a break to get today’s writing goal met (hence this post). Half way through it I thought about simply cutting the fabric that the feathers are attached to and moving the styrofoam piece on the inside. As soon as I get done writing this I am going to give it a try.

This will also provide the answer for the “how to I attach the eyes to the wings?” question. I should be able to simply pin them in place.

With any luck, I will have the basic structure of the wings, along with the robe portion of the costume, finished in under an hour. Tomorrow I can work on the unenviable task of putting on the feathers and doing the detail work on the hands and arms. Then I am done except for the chest.

Yes, stress and the fear of failure can be a great motivator. Fortunately the converse is also true. Nothing gives one a sense of satisfaction like finishing a project early.

1 For example, there is no way that I would have been able to attend the various conventions and things over the last few months had I been working a job which required me to work 13 hour shifts on Saturdays as my last one did.

2 Unfortunately, I will have to revisit this as Titus will be having another operation, this time on his back leg to repair a torn crutia ligament.

3 Don’t worry, only Titus’ surgery is anything to be concerned about. The other stuff is fairly routine.

4 I also readily acknowledge that there is a huge portion of situational stress which can arise from being overworked or having too much to do at once. Similarly, stress can arise from the repetitive nature of ones life, especially when that includes taking care of others.

5 By “one” I mean “me.”

6 Unless you are one of those people who will keep picking at a project (editing, tweaking, reforming, etc.) until it is actually out of your hands.

7 Damn it.