One From the Draft Pile : Balance
I've been busy working behind the scenes, sprucing up my blog and site. Deep in the draft pile, I found this post from May of 2015. Specifics have changed but the same need for balance still and no doubt always will hold true. I'm glad that I have found more of healthy balance since first penning this post, but I know it's a constant effort and I always have more to learn. Since it's still relevant, I decided I'd go ahead and post it.
It's been quiet here on the blog. I honestly didn’t have a lot to say or rather, I had a hard time saying what I wanted to say. But a combination of recently turning thirty, having a lot my mind, and this post over at the Have Company Blog has inspired me to write and publish this post.
Over the last three to four years, I've been learning to value my time more. It hit particularly hard when my father passed away suddenly last year, that life can be very short and it’s so essential to make the best you can of it all. I still struggle and hit snags where I know I’m wasting time and energy on things that don’t matter, but I’m a lot closer to understanding and directing my energy into the right areas.
Many of you probably know that for many years I had a small Etsy shop. I didn't run it for the financial aspect of it, if anything, I under-priced my work because it kept the cycle going more smoothly—make something, sell it so I could buy more materials to make more things to sell so I can buy more materials, and on and on. I was honestly in it for my emotional well-being. Then, in 2012, I realized it wasn't filling that hole anymore. I closed up my shop and did some soul searching. I refocused my energy into the personal and health issues that I was facing at that time.
There is a general assumption that people who work from home just sit around in their PJs all day and “have the life.” While that is somewhat true (I can sit around in my PJs and so many times I’ve stopped to think about how lucky I am to not be stuck in a cubicle, and that I have such flexibility with my schedule, especially now when I’m needed here at home), it’s not always as ideal as it seems. One of the biggest challenges is that there are often no boundaries between work and play, work and family, work and well-being. Sometimes I envy people who punch a time clock, put in their 8 hours and go home, back to their personal lives. (Unfortunately, I know far too many people whose work follows them home from the office—company cell phone ringing at dinner time, putting in extra hours or wasting personal time on long, stressful commutes.)
Another eye-opening experience has been the fact that my 92-year-old Grandma has been in a hospice program since February. We are very determined to keep her here at home—even if that means she is our 24/7 focus. She has good days and bad days and we are so grateful for the professional and personal help we have been receiving. I’m grateful for my Mom and Uncle who seem to be relieving me of “Grandma Duty” more often so I can devote time to her and time to getting my work done: outside, in the garden, in my studio, over a dye pot, and in front the computer.
Though I try not to think about my twenties and all the "what-could-have-been's," there is one thing I do regret and hope to do differently in my thirties and that is to invest more in the people in my life, in relationships. I know my work is what helped me get through some very rough patches, but time and experience have taught me that people can, too. Now that I've reopened a shop, I feel much more comfortable and confident in charging closer to what my time and energy is worth. I'm also learning to draw a more distinct line between work and play--scheduling work hours for myself, not replying to emails when I'm not "in the office" and therefore freeing up time and wholehearted attention for friends, family and even myself.
For those of you who work from home, how do you balance it all?