Balancing the stresses of life is someone everyone–particularly over-stressed Americans–relates to. There are already many books, columns, and talk radio shows that focus on the self-improvement of balancing life’s stresses. And balancing your diet to stay healthy. It’s balancing the world coming at me (aka “evil”) versus the energy I expel going back at it (“goodness”) that’s become my habit and focus.
Any artist relates to having to stabilize these competing forces. How I do it: I say “no”. It’s hard sometimes–especially with loved ones–to turn away obligations, all with the intention to have time and energy to devote to a project that I determine to be self-important. (At this time, the material itself is the only entity that believes it is, indeed, important.) Of course, turning away family is virtually impossible, unless you want to carry those conversations until Thanksgiving dinner. A delay that can escalate the unresolved problems or create new ones, possibly fermenting into a really poor, boxed chardonnay that you must chug down. No, thank you. I love them–and myself–too much to put us through it.
A significant other–assuming there’s one (that’s how I roll, anyway)–has the same kind of priority like family. If you want to be in a relationship with someone you care about, you sure as hell better act like you’re in one.
So I’ve had to find other areas to find time . . . and preserve energy and ability do deliver my work. This has required a “no, not tonight” to friendly dinners (sometimes), workouts (fewer coastal San Diego runs), and tv (almost all the time). With all that daily life requires, it’s important not be dragged down by life’s gravitational pull to reality. That would be a bad place for me to be. There’s little comfort in the limitations of happiness provided by a moderately secure 401K, expansive worldwide democracy, terrorism, and Obamacare.
In my resolve to not be victimized by my conviction in propelling forward with my writing/production project, I’ve found great comfort in my OCD, because–no matter what–I’ll still do laundry. My book is not going to own me and stick me with filthy clothes and bedding. Curse you, The Silent Partner! Bring it on, world!
Because that, my friend, is balance.