Monday, April 13, 2009

There's Nothing Zen About Balance.

photo by Sarah Moon
I have struggled with life balance. Work/life balance, excess and simplicity, relationships and solitude, you name it and I have found a way to make it not work. The one that I've found to be the most difficult is the creativity/work balance.
This one is relevant for most people I think. You get out of college with a real sense of what you want to do. It might not be realistic or feasible but you are very connected with it. For me that was writing and creating.
I ended up a few years later working in a corporate hell where my attitude was constantly under scrutiny, no one wanted to hear my ideas ever, and there was a "process" for everything. I responded by quitting my job, moving to a tiny town in Colorado and staying mostly drunk for months. I got a lot of writing done and refinished some chairs. After that, I went back to a semi corporate job. You get the idea.
I don't know that it's possible to have the "all time perfect job that never drives you crazy". It's like finding a boyfriend that you never fight with. It's just not going to happen. I do think it's possible to have a balance of creativity and work (where you get an actual income).
You aggressively, obsessively pursue those creative outlets outside of work. You stay home on Friday night because the light will be perfect only at 6AM to take photos which means two of your friends are now mad at you for missing a birthday party. You rent an art studio because if you don't, you'll have to drag the scrap metal you found to the lawn of your apartment building that they have already warned you twice was "shared living space". The extra cost of that means you will probably have to stop buying so much produce at Whole Foods. You decide to work late on Thursday night which means you won't get any writing done but at least your boss won't be mad at you this week. It's a constant scramble to keep all areas of your life somewhat nurtured. Your nails will be a disaster from art and your paint will dry before you're done with the project because of work meetings.
This is a mess. And this might also be what balance looks like.


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