I've been trying to be more self-centered. Oh don't worry, I do realize that this is hilarious coming from a blogger. However, I tend to over-commit to cooking things, party hosting (which involves cooking things), supporting my friends who totally rock, and maintaining my relationship with the boy. With me getting home at around 7p each night - sometimes later when I want to have dinner with a friend - it barely leaves enough time for me to do things that enrich me and make me feel healthy.
Recently, I am giving myself a pat on the back because I've been able to say no. I've been turning down opportunities to go to dance parties, I've been dropping my pride and allowing others to showcase their cooking skills, I've been getting some fucking sleep. The results? Awesomeness. My last post, though perhaps not the most interesting, was a result of a wholly relaxing weekend of doing things that I liked to do, and that my brain liked to do too.
I've had help though. Oh don't you think I haven't had help. A loooong time ago, I wrote an email to a few friends that went like this:
Hi. Wanted to ask some of the people I respect for their ability to keep passion in their lives a question.
I was recently writing up a blog post and thinking about how nice it was to write up a blog post (sooo meta). Upon reveling in this feeling, I thought, "What have I been doing that's kept me from doing this?" And I couldn't really think of much specifically. I did notice though that I had been partying and socializing and taking trips and shopping and random other stuff. Since I like to categorize, I decided that was me mostly relaxing but also maintaining and building my relationships with people around me.
I then thought back to a recent time when I was working on self-improvement and writing quite a bit. I ended up feeling like I didn't have enough time to socialize with friends or build on my relationships with people. I was mostly hanging out at home, writing or taking photos or cooking. It seemed like my life was going through these cycles: creativity/expression/self-improvement time, then social/relationship/helping others time.
Cycles seem natural and healthy. Like seasons. Upon closer examination, however, I was thinking about my writing and about my relationships with people. Each time I go through the social portion of the cycle, my writing is set back, because it requires practice and time. Each time I go through the expression portion of the cycle, my relationships stagnate and I feel like I lose touch. I never really get great at writing, and I never really connect with people in a natural way. Thinking about this caused me to have some of the anxiety - partially because of my perfectionism-encouraging upbringing, but also because I feel unhealthy when I don't progress. I don't want to regress, that's for sure, and I understand that a plateau of life-growth is expected at times, but I feel like I've been plateauing for a sad amount of time.
One of the solutions I came up with is to have a regimen. Not one that needs to confine itself to a daily agenda (30 minutes for this, 15 minutes for that, etc.), but one that is strict nonetheless, with goals that are challenging but attainable. The benefit is stability and balance. The problem with this is that regimens are hard. But there are people who seem to be able to balance these things without needing to adhere to shit. Are they super people? Anyway, the other solution I came up with was to be super intense when I cycle through these segments of interest. Take advantage of my feeling creative and being REALLY REALLY CREATIVE, or take advantage of my feeling social and be REALLY REALLY SOCIAL. The benefit is getting to focus on what you feel like focusing on. The problem with this solution is it causes burnout very fast.
Then there are the other things to balance: work, laundry, family...
Anyway, my question is this: how do you do it? How do you think others are able to balance this? What would be your ideal way to handle this conflict?
For those of you who have super-busy lives, there's no obligation to answer (esp. considering the nature of this email). Just wanted to loop y'all in on my thoughts and receive answers if you've got 'em handy.
I'll be releasing interesting ideas from my friends in the next post! Stay tuned and all that.
Rule: Ask your friends for help. They're smart.