Balancing Act

Many nights, late in the evening, I hang out here at my computer, wandering aimlessly in blogland while Jim snores peacefully in front of the television out in the family room, and the puppies sleep curled up on the bed behind me, nestled in their blankets. I love meandering through the worlds and minds of other women, reading about their yearnings, their creative dreams, their struggle to overcome illness or grief. They inspire me, they provoke me, they make me gasp, and sometimes even cry. Invariably, I come across something that jabs at my psyche, that speaks to me quite profoundly at whatever stage or mood I'm in. It's kind of like the game where you spin a globe, close your eyes, and point to the place you're going to take your next vacation. I can be just clicking along, following one trail of bloggers to the next, like Gretel following bread crumbs in the woods. And then, a comment or a photo will hit me, and I stop and read words that resonate in my heart, words that evoke a resounding Yes! in my spirit, words that I could have written myself.

It happened just now, actually. I ran across this post, on a blog I've never read before. The writer was responding to an earlier post of her own, in which she discussed the difficulty she was experiencing maintaining a balance between all her responsibilities as a mother, wife, writer, worker, woman...all of the many hats we women try to keep on our heads throughout the day. The realization she came to, and the one that was my light bulb moment for tonight, was that balance is overrated. Life has to be a little messy for us to test ourselves, to allow ourselves to grow and change.

That's a hard thing for me - little miss perfect. I like to have all my ducks lined up in a row, a nice tidy schedule for my day (every day), and a nice tidy atmosphere to go about my day in. I have noticed, however, that some of the most creative people I know are also (quite literally as well as figuratively) the messiest. As I have been exploring my own creativity during this past year, I've found the rest of my life becoming a little bit messier. I've been fighting that all along, thinking I should be able to keep all the other aspects of my life orderly and precise, and maybe that isn't possible when you start allowing your mind out of the confining box it's been in and letting it do a some wandering into other neighborhoods.

I have become quite comfortable with the idea of allowing myself to be messy in terms of creative work, of letting myself play with words on the page and not expecting them to be perfect, of trying out some art and craft projects, and being happy with whatever the results are because I've had fun in the process. Perhaps I can try and extend this idea into the rest of my life as well, and not worry so much about getting all the laundry done each weekend, or having all my work reports written two days ahead of schedule, or going to the gym every Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Maybe right now, the best balance for me is just being satisfied with life in general, enjoying and expanding my creative pursuits, and not constantly worrying that I'm not doing enough to keep everything running perfectly smoothly.