I’ve worked hard to create a life that works. I was dealt some pretty nasty cards in life, and I know some people who have just one of the issues I face: they are sitting at home, collecting disability payments. You know that’s not my style, however. Just about the only good thing my family ever gave me was a drilled-in, nearly-insane work ethic/drive (and a lot of people say that’s not a good thing).
For better or worse, I have used that drive to shape my life. In recent years, I have tempered it and have found a balance that works for me. June and July of 2015 have tipped that balance severely. There is precious little time for rest or relaxation of any kind, and no time for family, friends, or fun. My life is out of balance right now.
June brought several things that increased the workload, including a cross-country trip for a professional certification. I wished I could just take some exam or do a performance review over Skype to prove that I didn’t need to attend the training. It would have saved a week, a lot of stress, and about a grand in travel expenses, but that wasn’t allowed. Rules. Okay. A hoop to jump through. Gotta do whatchoo gotta do. My husband and children were able to make a vacation out of it, going to a state park and taking over 1,000 photos, and I’m very glad they were able to do that. We were able to meet some online friends in person for the first time ever, and I’m very glad for that, too, and for their hospitality.
The timing of the certification was horrible, no bones about it. The trip came right in the middle of moving into a new home, having a few books to edit or proofread, dealing with a major appliance issue, and recovering from an oral surgery that didn’t go quite right. (The oral surgeon failed to remove several pieces of the tooth he mined from my jaw, and after passing more than a week in strong pain, after we got home, I did a little “surgery” of my own to rectify the situation.)
So after sitting in a class for 10 hours, in pain, I was exhausted. After a very enjoyable dinner with friends, I had to tear myself away and spend the night proofreading or editing books. Don’t get me wrong here: I LOVE editing and proofreading. I just wish I could have put those things on hold for one week. Just one week, out of forever. But deadlines are deadlines, especially when publishing companies are involved. Yes, this indie authors’ editor sometimes edits and proofreads for publishers.
I was ill for a week after our trip. June was hard, I won’t deny it, but it did hold some good things.
July is promising to be hard, too. This month has me filling in for a colleague. It doesn’t seem like it should be any big deal or extra time commitment to take on another cognitive training client, but it is changing things. The days I’m normally working at home (editing), I’m now going to the office, and when I get back home, it is hard for me to switch gears and jump right into editing. I normally reserve entire days for editing, get into the groove, and work for hours on end. I have been known to copyedit an entire book in 48 hours (though I am never doing that again, so don’t ask. Allow at least a month for editing, to get the best results).
Quality time out of balance
Also, my kids clamor for my attention when I get home on those extra office days. They’re accustomed to my being home three to four days a week, and now that I’m leaving the house every day, they’re feeling a bit starved for attention. When parents commit to something, they aren’t the only ones affected. I made the commitment knowing how it would affect my children, because it needed to be done, and a degree of sacrifice is good for humans. I’m trying to make up for that “lost” time with me as much as I can, and soon things will go back to normal anyway.
Monday would normally have been an at-home editing day. I only had one client to meet with, so I told my children I’d be home in about two hours. I was home in four. I not only saw the client, but also cleaned the office and ran a few related errands. Today I have several clients to meet. I don’t expect to have any brainpower left by the time I get home, but tomorrow I will have to get some editing done, so I really need to “get with the program.” There are four more weeks of this, and I have three books to finish up this month, not to mention a large amount of audio to transcribe for my colleague’s future books. If ever I could use some superhuman energy levels, now would be the time.
There will be times in your life when things are out of whack. It happens to all of us sooner or later. It’s just a matter of time. The question is how will you handle it?
Two things not to do when life is out of balance
Do not ignore the problem, hoping it will go away or right itself on its own. It probably won’t. Cut what you need to cut out of your life, say no, and finish things that must be done as soon as you can finish them.
The other big one: don’t make yourself feel guilty for doing what needs to be done. Do what you have to do. Treat yourself and others with kindness. Get things realigned as soon as you can. As soon as possible, I’m going to get things back into balance. Well, my kind of balance, anyway. 🙂 Take care of yourselves, readers.