We often talk about balance as only having two things to maintain; work and life, good and evil, credit and debit. In terms of pursuing creative interests that is often unnecessarily reductive. My life isn’t just about balancing the work I want to achieve with everything else, it’s about balancing all those components.
Life isn’t a scale of two equal containers that you try and level out, it’s one of many containers of various sizes that change frequently. At presently I’m trying to balance the creative work I want to pursue with actual paid work along with trying to learn Italian, socialising/networking, exercise, resting (be it sleeping or just chilling out), general adult responsibilities and other responsibilities.
I have a tendency to try and do it all, to try and push ahead to do all sorts at once. It leads to burn out and its where I’m heading to at the moment and guilt pushes a lot of it through. I know things need to give, and unfortunately at the moment that’s primarily exercise and sleeping (the latter isn’t necessarily intentional as much as it is a consequence of being a bad sleeper anyway).
I constantly feel like I could, and should, be doing more to achieve my creative pursuits. It’s an inferiority complex mixed in with impostor syndrome – look at that person, they’ve achieved so much and are younger because they work harder/smarter.
My “paid job” (as it gets known) recently asked if I want to extend my contract through to the end of July. It’s easy work, well paid and flexible and part-time so it’s silly to say no, but every time I take on something like this it feels like I’m taking away from what I want to do. It feels like I’m admitting failure. “Oh yes, I’ll do this work because I’ve not been successful with the work I wish to do instead”.
I know this isn’t true. I know that we often don’t see the toil and work people go through and focus on the end goals and the logical part of me can tell myself this, but there are still weeks where I look at what is ahead of me and how much time I’ll have to do my own stuff and feel guilty; guilty about having other plans, guilty about not doing enough. It also doesn’t help that I’m still learning and still at the development stage of projects so there is little tangible output. Little I can post for #screenshotsaturday and it doesn’t sound particularly exciting when someone asks me how my personal work is going if I say “not bad, managed to figure out how to parse particular phrases from a JSON query which I’ll then use to trigger actions”. Even though this is an achievement it fails to look as impressive as a nice shiny gif.
I’m trying to take responsible steps to ease my workload and to keep my mind in a positive position, but self-doubt is a hard one to squish. I guess I’m just typing this out to acknowledge how I’m feeling and where I’m at. I’m my own biggest critic after all. Since starting this pursuit I’ve been thinking a lot about mental welfare when it comes to creative pursuits. There’s still this toxic attitude that success has to come at a cost to one’s state of being. Suffer for your art. Crunch is essential. It will be worth it.
I guess I need a support network and even just thinking that makes me wonder how one would go about setting that up in the interest of the creativity community and I have to stop my mind from thinking about all of that. I get distracted easily. I have a desire to do too much at once. I want to prove I can. Prove I am as good as I want to be.