Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. Describe the ghosts that live in this house: Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

I’ve been overwhelmed lately and haven’t had the time or energy to create much of anything.  And I haven’t liked it one bit.  But I have a little time tonight and felt the urge to blog… but what to say, share, do?  So I pushed the “Inspire me” link on WordPress and the image and quote above came up.  Of course, they’re pretty perfect for where my life has taken me right about now.

I’ve been thinking so much about balance, lately.  As I’ve been working to build a new department at my agency, one that I think I would truly love to run, I’ve had to give up a lot of the time I’d been able to spend on my crafting.   Things had gotten pretty stagnant in my last position and I had been able to do it without a lot of thought or effort.  This was a new sensation for me, as I’d always been pretty consumed by work (working in a mental health field can easily be all-consuming).  Luckily, I was able to channel the extra time and energy I had into my crafting and I realized that I’d gotten to really love that part of myself.

The quote speaks to me of my own “enlightenment”, or my moving up in the social services world into a position I’ve  always thought I wanted.  But the “ghosts” that I’m afraid that I’m creating are the possible ghosts of my creative, family,  and spiritual lives.  I’m afraid about work consuming my life once again, as it’s done at so many points in the past.  There aren’t enough hours in the day to be able to do everything I want to do.  But I know there are things I need to do.  These are the things I’ve learned about myself in the past several months of having the creative time I’ve had:

– When I have the time to be creative, I feel alive.

– When I have the energy to participate actively in my faith community, I feel connected.

– When I feel alive and connected, I’m a great mother and wife.

So, what to do?

I’m so scared about being that little house in the picture with the sad title:  “love Don’t live here anymore”.   I’m scared about not being able to balance the pressures of work and life and still make time for the things that really feed my soul.  I’m scared that the career goal I’d always aspired to (moving up in the agency, having the chance to have a greater impact on the lives of a greater number of people) may end up being the thing that makes me into a person I don’t want to be.

How do you balance work and life and yourSELF?

9 thoughts on “Crossroads

  1. KerryCan says:

    I struggled with the same balance before I retired. What worked for me was picking one craft and starting a project that was long-term and easy to pick up and put down–for me it was hand-piecing a quilt. If I had a spare half hour, I wouldn’t want to get a bunch of stuff out for a random craft project that had to be finished and put away but I would pick up my ongoing quilt and piece a few scraps, as many as I had time for. It meant I could see progress but didn’t feel any need to get it done on a schedule. And once the initial planning was done, I could create at a moment’s notice without having to expend too much energy to get started again.

    • craftymadre says:

      That’s a great idea. I recently started trying to crochet, thinking I could just carry my project around and pick it up when I had time. I realized that I kind of stink at crocheting. 🙂
      Maybe it’s worth keeping it up, though. Practice makes perfect.

      • KerryCan says:

        I think crocheting something like granny squares would be perfect–you do little squares and the project doesn’t get unwieldy until the end when they all have to be connected. I think you’re right that it’s just practice–and the granny squares allow for that, too–as you get better you can decided whether to keep the first ones you made or replace them.

        • craftymadre says:

          That’s a great idea. I ended up making my first little mess into a keychain. I love doing the chain at the beginning but adding more rows was a disaster. I’ve seen pillows and such made with granny squares and they’re so cute.

  2. craftysorcha says:

    Hmm, tough question. Sometimes I think you just need to take time for yourself and your interests – say “I will spend x amount of time this week on creativity or faith or whatever” and stick to it. It will help your professional life too.

  3. tamyraptor says:

    Hmm, something that I struggle with myself. I think maybe there are no right answers, but I just try to listen to what my head and body are telling me – i.e., I need to take a break, spend some time with my partner, do something creative. It’s easy to tune those messages out, and then you end up crashing and feeling really flat. But that’s ok too – sometimes you just need to rest and reset! Good luck x

    • craftymadre says:

      That’s definitely true. I think it’s the listening to my body that I have a hard time with. Well, listening and then actually doing something based on what I’m hearing. It’s all part of the journey, right?

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