You know that scene from “Highlander”? The one where Connor MacLeod (a French actor playing a Scot) and Ramirez (a Scottish actor playing an Egyptian masquerading as a Spaniard) are out on the loch in a boat and Ramirez is trying to teach MacLeod about balance? I wish I could find someone to teach me about balance…only without the possibility of drowning.
You see, I have a pretty full life. Writing, my children, school, the newspaper, family stuff, photography, friends stuff – it all keeps me very busy. And inevitably, something needs all my focus (lately it’s been friends stuff and writing) and the other things suffer because of it. I need to find some way to balance every thing so that nothing withers and dies because of a lack of attention.
Besides the normal “I love my kids more than life” kind of thing, I’m utterly obsessed by writing and photography. These two things are why I get out of bed in the morning. But since November is NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth and I’ve given myself the goal of at least 2,000 words a day, I haven’t taken a single photograph that is not of my children or my cats. This makes me horribly sad because I’m still very much an amateur photographer and I need to work on my technique and learn the skill. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to take pictures, write my 2,000 words, spend time with my kids and The Man, sleep, eat and attend to personal needs. Oh, and take care of homework, editing obligations and see/speak to my friends as well.
Sometimes I find myself wishing I could just, you know, become a hermit or something. I’d like to have a cozy little cabin somewhere in the woods – maybe British Columbia, maybe Colorado – with excellent wifi, a fireplace, awe-inspiring views unmarred by the man-made, a friendly cat, a loyal dog, and all the venti skinny pumpkin spice lattes I could drink. I’d live there all alone, with no outside pressures, no one demanding my time, nothing to do but perfect the two crafts that drive me. I’d crank out 5,000 words a day, take hundreds of photos…and mope because I miss my kids and my friends and yes, even The Man.
I guess there isn’t really any way to find a perfect balance of work, family and friends, hobbies and oneself. Something will always be neglected. The trick then is to keep shuffling your focus so that everything receives equal amounts of attention and neglect. Oh, and try not to drown when you inevitably get tossed out of the boat.