Finding Balance

by Sunshine Cobb

As I sit to write this post, I feel like I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off! The Red Clay Rambler podcast has just dropped and has me thinking back to when we recorded and the conversations that surrounded that moment.  It seems to be a conversation I have often lately, about having balance in one's life.  Which after much debate, I don't think it can be achieved!   Don’t lose hope, I think it is the attempt at balance that is the mission!  

    It must be that time in life when LIFE pulls you in 18 million directions, I have so many friends and colleagues that are feeling the strain. The two areas that kick our butts are relationships (partners, kids, friends, pets) and work(paycheck/passion job, making art, working in the studio and traveling for work). These things seem to be on the majority of the lists that we are succeeding or failing at simultaneously.  I just want to be clear - I have no answers (maybe a couple of suggestions), it is a struggle for me as well!

    I am writing this to fulfill an obligation to my partners at the OC and it is late!  I took a break in my painting duties for today because I couldn't get my brain to shut up about all the things I need to do.  My taxes, this post, promote the podcast, promote a friend who has a kickstarter, make work for all the backorders I have stacking up, call the travel agent to book flights, check my email and try to tackle a few of the things on there that can happen in a couple of minutes… the list goes on and on. Like I am sure it does for most of you!  

    A conversation with a friend and colleague recently made me realize one of my failings/strengths is I often put work/career stuff first. Not that I didn't know that, I have been working so hard at that for such a long time it has become a central focus of my energy. The connection and why in this instance, it is becoming a failing, is that it is now easier to put work first to the detriment of other things. Seeing a task completed is so much more satisfying and feels like a check mark on my never-ending list.  Like this second, I would rather finish painting the other room because there is an end to that assignment, and this writing assignment puts me in a more contemplative state and that can seem like a never ending space, life and all that sticky personal stuff seems to spiral out of hand so quickly!  And a freshly primed wall gives way to the next clear step of the project, COLOR.

To combat this tendency, I have been trying (trying is sometimes as far as I get) to set up much clearer personal goals. Setting time for friends in person or more recently Skype dates with faraway friends (NCECA isn't enough!), making time to meditate (even if it is at the laundromat), riding my bike… there are lots more I could list but you get the idea. For me it has been important to put these things on my calendar and treat them like any other appointments I have.  If I don’t, it doesn’t happen.  So if you have been battling with yourself and not having time for it all… give yourself a break! Then pick a single thing to make a change. Even if it is something as simple as texting someone you have been meaning to call.  This is one of my resolutions this year… instead of waiting a year to tell someone “I have been meaning to call", I just text that they are on my mind.  That often leads to a quick exchange that may not be that long catch up phone call I long to have,  but it is more than liking a photo on Instagram or Facebook!  

So remember that it is the STRUGGLE towards balance that is achievable not actual balance.  Give yourself a break and remember that everything we do is a choice, some choices are harder than others but still our choice!  I wish you and myself luck on this journey towards balance.  Back to painting!

Follow this link to The Red Clay Rambler Podcast Ep. 98 On Defining Success Early in a Career