I have this image in my head that I am on a tight rope like the one's in the circus. I am wearing a full body leotard and standard ballet shoes. In one hand I hold my family, friends, romance, dreams, visions and personal finances. In the other hand I'm holding paint brushes, pencils, pens, business finances and perhaps a glass of wine ;-).
How on earth can one human being walk a tight rope and hold all of this in their hands you ask? Precisely my question when I have this ridiculous vision. But is it ridiculous? Isn't it so true for so many of us that we hold onto way more than we can handle and try to balance it as if we are super human anomalies. Time with loved ones, self and work (that you love) is all very necessary.
Balance is something I strive for in my everyday life especially since becoming a full time artist. Day to day it seems as if I am being pulled in 100 different directions and my mind can't keep up. I am a mom, daughter, sister, friend, organizer, student, teacher, artist, business owner, visionary, public speaker, licensee, dreamer, doer, traveler, woman. In all of these blessed roles it is sometimes difficult to navigate; and anyone who knows me personally knows how terrible my sense of direction is while driving! Truthfully, I am still learning the art of work-life balance. This post is more about the struggles that I am facing in the journey than the art of balance itself.
2015 was the year of possibilities for me; making my dreams a realitiy by pursuing my art career full time. The struggle with being an emerging artist is that you have to really get yourself out there. If people don't know who you are they will definitely don't know what you do. I was involved in so many amazing projects and commissions that my head was spinning. I signed up for every opportunity that came my way because I truly had nothing to lose. From painting Human bodies in New Orleans and New York to nine foot dinosaurs in Stamford and adirondack benches in Stratford I was truly putting myself out there. It was all so amazing that it consumed me. My family and friends barely saw me unless they were with me in the flesh or saw my posts on social networking.This is where it gets difficult; there is a lot of sacrifice that occurs when you make the decision to go against the grain. Entrepreneurs have to start out by working harder and longer than the average 9 to 5. We have very late nights and early mornings and less time with the ones we love. Our brains move at a much faster pace because of trying to figure out the next move. While I did make the choice to become my own boss, I didn't intend for it to take over. This is where balance comes in.
I have two teenagers who quite honestly run hot and cold with me because that's what teenagers do. They are independent for the most part and able to do things for themselves but they still need their mom. I have to press pause on my business very often and tend to their needs because quite frankly they are my priority. Being your own boss has it's setbacks and benefits, one of the benefits is the ability to create your own schedule. While it is usually a very unconventional schedule, it's yours. I spend most of my time working so my personal time is very scarce. Socializing and dating have become somewhat of a puzzle that I am trying to piece together but I'm getting there.
Many people don't understand the malign works of balance so they fail to see it operating in their lives. EVERYTHING in life has to have some kind of balance to operate efficiently. If we didn't have bad in our lives how would we know what good was? I often have to pause and give thanks for the imbalance in my life because I know it is necessary for my growth. I am a work in progress and to step in the way of my progress would only hinder my growth.
At the end of the day I come home and see my children and it is a reminder of why I do what I do. We laugh together, cry together, we even burst out in song and dance together (literally). I want them to pursue their dreams, hone in on the things that they are great at and gift those things to the world. My balance is imbalance these days and while it is a challenge I am ok with it for now. I am still navigating and learning what works for me personally because I think balance is different for each of us. In the mean time I will continue to spend much needed quality time with my family, myself and my work.
“Somehow, we'll find it. The balance between whom we wish to be and whom we need to be. But for now, we simply have to be satisfied with who we are.”