Committee is all-consuming. I’m not sure there’s any other way to put it. We live, eat, sleep, and breathe Committee for the majority of March. Hell, we even dream about Committee (or at least I have). On multiple occasions my husband has awakened me because I was talking in my sleep quite aggressively about various things that happened in Committee that day. Sadly, our lives do not press the pause button while Committee runs. In trying to balance the two it’s usually our lives that come up short-handed.
This past weekend, Committee deliberations ended early and that was the highlight of my week. I needed a haircut something fierce but the past few weeks did not provide me a spare half hour to get one. My hair was so long and my split ends so noticeable that it was not a pretty sight. The ponytail had become my best friend. And while I was able to spare a few minutes on Saturday to get a haircut, getting it colored will have to wait until March. Because of our early dismissal from Committee, I was also fortunate enough to find time to get my oil changed. While I’m usually on the ball about car upkeep, the “maintenance needed” button had been flashing so long I didn’t even notice it any more.
Laundry is something that seems easily foregone during Committee, that is until my colleague realized she was wearing Santa socks the other day. Cleaning the house, mowing the yard, grocery shopping…all normal weekly chores that somehow find themselves undone during Committee (likely because the last thing any of us wants to do after working a 70-hour week is go to the store or clean the house). And let’s not forget about taxes (the IRS certainly won’t). Most of us are struggling to find time to do them or drop them off at an accountant’s office. Those of us that have completed them cannot find time to get to the post office to mail them (maybe this will teach us to do them on-line). We work from 8:00am until at least 6:00pm during Committee (and post offices tend to keep banker’s hours). We get only 30 minutes for lunch (and those precious minutes are spent fitfully checking emails and voicemails), and we work Saturdays.
And then there’s having a life; maintaining relationships. I feel like I haven’t spent quality time with my husband in at least a week. I think the most time we actually spent together is when I accompanied him to a medical procedure and he was loopy from the anesthesia for most of that time. My sister lives about 20 minutes from me and I haven’t seen her since the holidays (between reading, preparing for Committee and Committee itself there’s been little if any time). We saw each other this frequently when she lived in Iowa so that’s pretty bad.
But all this is Committee. We sacrifice our looks, our diet, our creature comforts, and likely to some extent our health to do the job we were hired to do. Our families sacrifice too. They sacrifice time, attention, and their own needs to allow us to do our jobs. But this is what our job is all about. It’s what we’ve worked all year for and we all believe these sacrifices, as unpleasant as they may be, to be worthwhile come April 1 when we mail letters and May 1 when we enroll a new class.
– Wendy Livingston