I make deals with myself, it’s how I get through summer and prevent myself from feeling overwhelmed. We take it one deal at a time, one day at a time.

I say, “If you can make ten rings, weed the entire garden and deal with the bills in the mail pile by Tuesday, you can go to Bozeman, ride your bicycle and have a hoot with your girlfriends for four days.”

I say, “If you can clean out the chicken coop, mow the entire lawn and clean all the floors in the house by tomorrow night, you can begin the next day with the ten mile mesa run you love.”

I say, “If you can get that batch of images edited and submitted along with invoices, sit still enough to return Becca’s phone call and stay patient and kind while talking with the WIFI people as you try to convince them that they just need to send out a technician to deal with the problem, you can go to McCall for a few days of quiet and cool.”

My little deals with myself keep me present in the moment, in the day I am living — they keep me illuminated and buoyant, they prevent deflation and exhaustion.  I try to be realistic about what I can achieve so I don’t get frustrated by time limitations or when there are life glitches or last minute schedule changes (which are the very soul of the fire season…last minute EVERYTHING…we’re an entire tribe on call in one way or another for six months).  My little deals give me something to look forward to, a bit of dessert, a reward for hard work.  They help me shed my stress because I grow focused enough on the tasks at hand that I suffer a delightful sort of tunnel vision.

Keep it simple.  Keep it necessary.  Make a deal.  Get it done.  Receive the reward.

Summer in a nutshell!