January 15, 2013
Learning My Balance
(photograph by miguel gomez)
The other night I stepped out of the shower, hair still wet in my pajamas and started sobbing “I’m not doing a good job at anything!” to poor Adam. That’s not how I really feel, but it was a moment of being overwhelmed by a lot of different things. Luckily for me, he took it like a champ and told me I had just taken on a lot and to make a cocktail while he turned on the new episode of Downton Abbey for me. All of which worked by the way and is highly recommended. This feeling of being overwhelmed has come to a head because in this past year I’ve prioritized work over almost everything else and I see now that it’s not working.
I don’t want to show up late for meetings anymore wearing something with stains on it because I didn’t give myself enough time to get ready because I was emailing/blogging/in illustrator until five minutes before I was supposed to leave the house. While I’m obviously drawn to the quick pace of this career and I love (most) every single moment and (absolutely) every single one of my clients, I also recognize the difference between being busy and being overwhelmed and I’ve noticed that I often confuse the two.
Have you ever noticed when you have a lot going on and feel overwhelmed that you’ll often think to yourself or say out loud to a friend “I’m so busy!”But you’re not just busy—you’re overwhelmed. “Busy” sounds and feels better—it makes it sound like “I’ve got a lot going on, but I’m managing it all!” It makes it sound like you’re “in demand” or needed, which is desirable. I’d like to start being a little more honest with myself about being busy vs. over committed, which will mean saying no to some projects. It will mean closing my computer at 6 PM most nights. It will mean re-focusing on my personal well-being and de-prioritizing work to some degree in exchange. And it will mean admitting that I can’t do it all (shocking, I know).
This past year, I’ve really tried to make a name for myself and make this creative career work and while I don’t regret hustling as much as I have, I also recognize the need to slow down and take better care of myself. Only problem is, these things don’t come naturally to me. So, I’ve set some new rules for myself and made some solemn vows to:
In two months I will have completed my first year of this creative career and I feel like I’ve learned so much. My motto in that first year was: say yes to everything. And I did! I took on every project, every client and every opportunity that landed on my doorstep and I don’t regret one minute of it.
It’s interesting how much more grown-up (get it?) I feel in just ten months. My priorities this year have already changed drastically. I’m focused now on the quality of my work more so than just doing a lot of it. I’m focused on my loved ones, my own well-being and my savings account in a much more dedicated way than I was last year.
Here’s to a bright new year and the balance I hope it brings.