It is not a unique problem; all obsessive/workaholic/compulsive/list-making people have it (or at least I hope so). Its time for vacation (be it voluntary or mandated) and the pressure is on.
I admonish my colleagues all the time "It will all be here when you return" and "Go away, it will make you more effective when you get back". I tell that to myself as well, and do I listen?
But there is more...
By the time I return, I will not have seen Katchkie Farm for three weeks. Which means that spring will arrive and I will miss all those tiny exquisite moments of rebirth. The baby sprouts will mature and I won't be there to marvel at their growth. I won't see Farmer Bob turning over the fields on this tractor. The first seeds are going into the ground and I will miss this annual milestone. (And if Michelle Obama calls for advice on planting or what to teach the children about food, Farmer Bob will have to take the call.)
The parties I am going to miss: Tribeca Film Festival events (de Niro, Paltrow, JT to drop a few names), the NOFA (Northeastern Organic Farmers Association) luncheon, the 90th birthday celebration for Merce Cunningham, and more. There is not a detail that depends on my presence and each event is in the hands of a brilliant manager. But I like to taste the food as it is cooked and watch the trucks as they roll out to their destinations.
And then there is the extra burden and guilt of walking away during the most challenging business climate of my career. I feel like I am abandoning Great Performances. I have stayed put since early September, and have worked every day. Being so far away feels wrong.
We are furiously developing our new website. It is another project going from infancy to adolescence to adulthood that is captivating and I will miss the daily dilemmas. The discussion around brand, contemporary communication and the relevancy of our blogs, Twitter and Facebook are part of a global conversation unique to this moment in time - our own little industrial revolution. Who wants to miss that?
And that leads to the subject of connectivity withdrawal. What communication devices come with me? Flip phone? Blackberry? iPhone? Which iPod? Laptop? Which camera?
Relax, I tell myself. Get out of town - come back rejuvenated. It will all be here when I return - and some things might even move along better under the guidance of others. The economic crisis will not have been resolved and I will still have my share of leadership challenges.
Go see new things and have new adventures. Smuggle seeds from different countries and bring them to the farm. Discover new food ideas and bring home menus. Wander new markets and take a zillion pictures. Reconnect to children and husband and family. Disconnect and leave some of the electronics at home. Remember the meaning behind "www" - it's the World Wide Web. Experience the real thing.
It's time to unplug, hear new sounds in countries far away.
It's time to put the to-do list away and start packing.