So here’s the thing: sometimes everything feels like it’s going swimmingly. Life is pretty balanced (even if precariously), and you’re sailing along pretty much in alignment with who you really are. You feel hopeful! Anything is possible! Life is good!
Other times, not so much.
You know those times: when the computer is not functioning. When Mail won’t receive any emails. When client deadlines (or whatever) are shaking you by the shoulders and Your Important Work lies languishing in the corner. When the migraine gods decide it’s time to have a little fun at your expense.
Nothing feels like it’s working. You feel like a failure. Your goals feel impossible to reach, and you wonder why you even bother trying.
You’re sitting right inside the fire pit, getting singed, rather than enjoying the flames and singing songs with everyone else out in the campfire circle.
If you’ve ridden this spinning ball of clay enough circuits around the sun, you’ll hopefully understand that these other days — when it feels like nothing’s going right, never has and never will — are part of the journey, and will pass.
You’ll get back to life is good again. Really, you will.
What others see is not always what you see
My mom is reading a book right now about how to achieve and maintain work/life balance. Today, surprisingly enough, she told me she thinks I do a really good job of it, that whole work/life balance thing.
Huh. It’s one of those “not so much” times over here, so it’s funny to hear someone say that I’m a model for them of good work/life balance.
The house is a mess.
One of the kitties has peed somewhere and I can’t for the life of me figure out where, despite my efforts with the special black light I bought for the purpose some years ago.
I’m three days behind in my very tight deadline schedule, because my computer was out of commission.
I haven’t made art, or music, or written a blog post, in days.
I’m so busy fighting fires it’s all I can do to mark time. Forget forward progress!
But Mom reminds me that everybody has periods of imbalance. Yeah, sure, you’re stressed out and working like a fiend right now to catch up, but overall?
Patience, patience, patience
I interviewed singer/songwriter Cosy Sheridan today for the Thriving Artists Project. Cosy dropped out of college to be a singer/songwriter, much to the distress of her parents, who thought a college degree might be a pragmatic thing to get, even if she wanted to be a musician afterwards.
At the time, three more years of college seemed unendurable, but today over the phone Cosy mused that maybe she should have just finished. “It was only three years, after all.”
Only three years! In a 25-year career, it really isn’t that much if you think about it. And my few months of frustration every summer, when I crazily take off for a couple of weeks of music camp during my busiest season of the year, feels pretty minor in comparison.
Maybe Mom’s right.
I’ve been feeling so badly that my blog posts have dropped from almost daily to 3x/week if I’m lucky. (My other blog, The Dating Queen, has dropped from twice a week to zero.) The voices say “you’re a failure,” and “real bloggers write every day, no matter what,” and all sorts of other things to make me feel sucky. But the fact is, there just isn’t enough bandwidth, unless I cease sleeping and eating, or clone myself. And even then probably not.
Then I remind myself that my original commitment was to post twice a week.
Are we playing overachiever again, Melissa?
I can take another lesson from Cosy, who has managed to survive and thrive as a music artist for 25 years, and who openly states that she has never been good at following rules. The stuff you’re “supposed” to do never seems to work for her. And yet she’s forged ahead anyway.
So maybe I need to roll my eyes at those voices that tell me what a successful artist/musician/writer/blogger is “supposed” to do, and just do what works for me. It’ll probably all work out in the end.
It always does.