You know that scene in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" where Indy is attempting to get to the Holy Grail only he has to prove his faith in a higher power before entering by stepping blindly out off the edge of a cliff, hoping his belief is strong enough to create a path? Sometimes I feel like that only my belief in myself isn't strong enough and when I step off the edge I plummet to my untimely figurative demise. Then there are times where I feel like I'm navigating a tight rope (finally a tangible I can work with!) suspended between two mountains, only I have no cushy pile of softness to break my fall if I were to lose my balance.
Balance. There are a handful of definitions, yet none seem to accurately describe our daily pursuit to not lose track of ourselves amidst the trials and tribulations of daily life.
Losing our somewhat unclear grasp of that work/life balance is stressful because there is no one-size-fits-all guide for stability. I tend to feel an overwhelming influx of emotions when I'm presented two paths for my day and I know that whichever one I venture down, guilt will be trailing tightly behind. Can we really have it all? Meaningful work, a family, a social life, time for ourselves, time to give back to others?
So, how can we maintain our footing even when guilt or anxiety or depression clings to our minds?
I tend to favour the P's: perspective, positivity, priority, and being present.
Taking a positive and pragmatic outlook on life. Knowing that I'm fortunate enough to be able to pursue both of my passions on a daily basis because I prioritize them. I'm comforted by the fact that I've found not one but two career paths that I can commit myself to and actually feel rewarded at the end of the day. I don't ever wake up dreading work. I may wake up tired, I may sometimes wake up frustrated or anxious, guilt can sometimes linger, but when I put my day in perspective, I have only blessing to count and no pains to sulk about. I don't know how I got this lucky. I know that there are so many other individuals who are more qualified, maybe more dedicated to their work than I am, but I like to think I could challenge them on their level of passion. Even when exhaustion sets in and my eyes struggle to stay alert, I can't help but feel grateful for my tired state. Have you ever felt that? Gratitude in the present for being tired? Thankful for your day of labour? That concept was foreign to me five years ago. I now live for today, and today I'm prioritize positivity and not comparing the me today to my former self.
I get to do what I want to be doing every single day, and even though my teaching schedule can be demanding and takes away from the hours I would like to spend in front of a canvas, I've learned to maximize every minute I have with my paints. Whether it's five minutes or two hours, each second is a relaxed one. I feel no pressure to produce because I want to be here. I want to teach and I want to paint, and when you want something bad enough, your time management skills flourish.
What are you passionate about? How might your prioritize your time differently?
Know what you want out of life.
The opinions of others shouldn't sidetrack you or pull you from your focus in the now. You are capable of so much and I say that with first hand experience, scratching my way out of dark holes that dwelled on the past and the great what ifs. Corners that trapped me with my perceived shortcomings and lack of hope for a brighter tomorrow. Days and nights where I my strengths were blinded by my weaknesses and my passions seemed pointless.
Today is a beautiful one. Seize it!