I think everyone, at one point in time or another, has had to work under stress. I chose to work under stress my entire life. I tried to meet unrealistic schedules in inclement weather, and I’ve worked under my truck all night, to drive all day to consequently make a truck payment, or pay an unrealistic traffic fine. Though I’m now retired, I’m still under stress about my wife’s poor health, the health of my family, and of course, myself. I’ve always thought that I worked and thrived best under stress. So much so, it’s been my belief that stress makes us all more productive.
I thought that once I was retired, I’d no longer have to worry about stress. I thought that, unlike when I was running on a schedule during a blizzard, I’d no longer have to worry about going out when the weather was less than driver friendly. I’d be able to just say, “To hell with it, I’ll wait until it stops snowing and go tomorrow.” So I retired, and have been for more than four years now. And guess what? I’m still under stress! I don’t know whether it’s a habit brought on by years of working under stress, if I need it to thrive, or if I’m a stress junky. For example, this morning, after a week of not writing a word, I got an e-mail from Will (ze publisher), wondering where my story was for next week’s edition.
So, here I sit, stressing to write a story about stress, because of the stress of a deadline. And you know what? I’m enjoying it! My mind’s going over a hundred miles an hour, the adrenaline’s running, and the creative juices are flowing. To me, stress and pressure are one and the same. Maybe stress is good for me. Perhaps all those experts, who tell us stress is going to kill us, are wrong. Maybe the stress to solve life’s problems is really good for us. I’m seventy five years old, and when I’m under stress I come to life. I feel like I could handle anything, even a blizzard.
It makes you wonder. I’ve spent my life doing things, that according to the experts, should have brought my existence to an end at an early age. But I’m still surviving. At one time I drank heavily, didn’t eat what (or when) the experts say I should have, have smoked for over sixty years, and yet here I am, at a fairly healthy old age. Will, if you’re stressed about me meeting my deadline, just rattle my e-mail box and put me under a little stress. Maybe we can add a few years to each others lives. I say that if you’re eating, drinking and smoking, and it makes you feel good, it can’t be all that bad, because you’re still here, alive and happy.
~ In his own words: “Mel McConaghy, a retired truck driver and a proud Prince George resident who believes, after travelling the world, it’s the ‘Best Damn Place to Live’.” Mel McConaghy stories and books are available from his web site at www.melmcconaghy.com