The Balancing Act

I love hanging out with my friend Maria. She is a writer I met at my first memoir class upon arrival in Portland. For a while we met regularly with other students to critique pieces we were working on, but lately our focus has shifted to business plans and our ideas for the future.

This past Tuesday we talked a lot about the people who do it all (because apparently neither of us thinks we do enough). One woman in particular, an author we are both fond of, has three kids, a husband, is president of a corporation, wrote an excellent book about entrepreneurship and just squeezed out her first fiction novel in between inspirational blog posts and speaking engagements. And she’s pretty and she smiles all the time.

We wondered how it’s possible to stay on track. Where does one get the money and time necessary for such progress? Is it genetics that gives some of us such drive and ability to exist on little sleep? Is it fake? Are those people really just unhappy coke fiends who smile for the cameras but have crazy fucked up lives behind the scenes? Or are we just jealous because we’re not as focused as them? Do they have help? How do you get help?

One might think from our conversation that Maria and I are lazy daydreamers who prefer to gossip at the coffee shop rather than get anything done, but I know I’ve done a few things in my life and Maria’s list of accomplishments ain’t too shabby either. She used to work for the military but left to pursue a dream of cooking which led her first to cooking school, then to a job at The Painted Lady in Newberg, OR. She just bought a house with her husband and in her spare time, yah right, she’s finishing up her MBA. Her plan is to open her own restaurant, one with a moral and social compass that goes above and beyond fresh and organic.

So yah, Maria rocks. And yet, we spend hours every other week talking about how other people rock, people who are accomplishing more than us.

The list of things I want to get done continues to grow. Time seems to disappear when really I am consciously aware of it slipping away every time I open my computer to surf the internet and watch the royal wedding (stunningly beautiful!) or another episode of the Golden Girls. My focus took a vacation this winter and it has yet to return home where I need it.

I know it comes down to commitment and that old adage of putting one foot in front of the other and continuing to move forward. Half the reason I write this blog is the motivation I get by simply telling someone else I’m going to do something. It’s a way to build up resolve and responsibility. It also has a lot to do with eliminating trash talk and fear, the pesky things that hold us back.

I talk a lot about wanting to move to Hawaii and open up a bed & breakfast but that idea is still in the dream state. Contrary to my stated desire, I have let money fears get in the way of making it reality because I have absolutely no clue how I could afford to do such a thing.

Being at a loss for direction causes me to spin in circles, get frustrated and feel stuck. The weather’s too nice today for such time wasting bullshit so I’ve decided to make a schedule for the summer. Scheduling is one of my resume skills. Microsoft Excel is literally my arts and crafts. I can schedule the shit out of anything, so why not myself? It’s one small step in the direction of rediscovering direction.

There you have it, a deeper look into my neuroses. Isn’t it nice to be reminded that we all have them? This schedule I’m making will include a number of important things because I don’t just want to be successful in business. I also want to live well, enjoy the outdoors with my dogs, spend time with friends and laugh. Yes, there must be laughing if I am to truly be successful in my search for balance (even if I have to pencil it in for the time being).


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