February 28, 2010

In Search of Balance

It was a brown swing set.

Brown at the cross bar with yellow and orange swirls down the side. It had a swing, of course. Because, well…what kind of swing set would it be without one? A swing, a monkey bar, a faded orange teeter-totter, and a show horse pony that I would ride while pretending I was She-Ra… Princess of Power. Mistress of the Universe. PS: is it just me….or did anyone else think it was a *total* waste that She-Ra & He-man were related? I’m just sayin.

So I would ride my trusty steed and do battle with Catra or Skeletor or whoever else happened to be threatening Castle Gray Skull that day. And then I would go and swing as high as I could until the chains rubbed blisters on both my hands. When I got bored I might sit on the teeter-totter or climb on the monkey bar, but by far my absolute favorite thing to do on that swing set was to climb to the very top cross bar, that brown rusty cross bar, and hang by my knees upside down.

And this perplexed my father…my big, burly scared of nothing father… to no end.

“Kid,” he would say. He always called me kid. “Kid, you better get down from there or you’re gonna mess around and break your fool neck. Honestly… I have never seen the beat.” And he would walk away shaking his head and muttering to himself about neck braces and broken bones.

But the second he wasn’t looking, I was right back up there. Legs thrown over the top, arms dangling toward the ground. Barely hanging on by my knees and carefully balancing my weight to keep from….well y’know, messing around and breaking my fool neck.

But it was quiet up there. I could think up there. And somehow flipped upside down, the world just seem to make a lot more sense up there.

If I’m being really honest, there are some days…days just like today…when I would give anything to back be up there hanging upside down on that brown rusty swing set. To be quiet up there. To sit and think up there. And to somehow have the world make a lot more sense up there. Looking at it flipped upside down.

See I think I was on to something back then, and that is this. Balance is absolutely crucial. And somehow you have to find a way to hold on to it. To both reach and stretch and look at the world completely differently, but to also never lose your grip on the people and things that support you. That hold you up. Or else y’know…you might just mess around and break your neck. And prove parents everywhere right.

And everyone knows parents are absolutely insufferable when they’ve been proven right. :)

I am so completely honored that I have been asked to sit on the Women’s panel for Pictage at WPPI on Wednesday March 10th at 2pm, along with two of the most amazing ladies in the industry Jules BIanchi & Tasra Dawson. We will each be leading a different section on the panel, and given my mad swing-settin’ skills I have been asked to lead the part on Balance. For each of our topics, we wanted to take it to the streets, so to speak, and hear from you guys what are the things that you most struggle with in that area and what has worked for you for getting right with it.

I am so thankful to Pictage for putting this together and for always putting community first. They are such an inspiring company to be around! I also totally fell in love with their sleek, sexy new website & brand that the marketing team just launched this week. And then just color me happy when we went there and saw one of our pictures on the front page! Booyah!

So, I want to know…..what do you struggle with most in finding a good Work/Life Balance? And what has really helped you find a way to juggle it all? We will be taking the best answers and talking about them on the panel!

  1. Dawn Beirnes

    when I was little and we would drive from Ky to Al, I would ride in the backseat flipped upside down with my head in the floor board! I loved it, and it is so true for some weird reason that you can think better upside down! I loved this post!

  2. maggieb

    …never stop capturing life’s moments in story and picture…it is a gifted blessed thing that you never came down from "there". Shine on, keep spreading the love, and congratulations on your latest
    recognition.
    Balance, as in, walking a tightrope, balance beam, juggling many different identities and roles; how is it possible to keep focus when there are so many different hats to wear and there are fragments and pieces of you everywhere? How hard is it to stay whole? I wish I could
    listen in on the panel discussion.

  3. MM

    MaggieB you are the BEST! And I heart you!

  4. Julia

    Balance! A thing I strive for on a daily basis and yet, can never quite seem to grasp. Almost two years ago I received a guitar for my birthday. A beautiful acoustic Martin that sits in the corner and constantly whispers… play me. But two years later, I am still struggling to simply find the time to learn how to play. Whenever I pick it up, I feel guilty about everything else I should be doing. The day I learn how to play that guitar (really play… not just tinker at chords) will be the day I discover balance. To me, a balanced life would mean peace of mind- being able to function without having half of my mind somewhere else. It would be the ability to concentrate 100% on whatever I am currently engaged in. The ability to watch a movie with my husband and not feel guilty about the things that haven’t been done. The ability to do the wash without rushing because of the "laundry list" (ha.ha.) of other chores that I still need to get through. The ability to work, and not have my brain wander off to bills, or oil changes, or (shh don’t tell my boss) but a pedicure that is weeks overdue. : ) The ability to lose myself in an uninterrupted hour of musical bliss… without the side of guilt! :) I have no answers to give about life balance. I am nowhere near finding it. But sometimes, when I slow down and breath, I center myself just enough to get a glimpse of what my balanced life looks like… and it’s beautiful. :) Thank you for making me think Mary!! Because of this post I am going to try to slow down today… and just enjoy the moment!

  5. kristin korpos

    Meditation is HUGE – you have to figure out how to center yourself and what works for you but I think that learning how to practice meditation, and NOT be blown by every wind is key to maintaining and re-centering one’s balance.

  6. Kara Schultz

    The hardest balance is when to actually STOP working and just be with my husband and dog. With the iphone, I’m checking and responding to emails at the dog park, or on the car ride, during dinner, before bed. I shouldn’t have to feel like I need to be connected 24/7 but I do! I also think that balance is knowing when to say no and that it’s ok to say no to things. We’re in a world where saying yes to every opportunity is supposed to be the right thing and if you don’t you feel like you’ve missed a GIANT opportunity that probably was nothing! But if you turn it down because you don’t have time, don’t have what you want to give to the project/client, then all the sudden you’re not a "go-getter" and you can’t do it and you’re not serious enough about making a small business work. It’s frustrating and then you turn around and you’re burnt out or don’t give the level of service that you’re capable of. I’ve done it and gotten burned because I couldn’t say no and because the balance just disappeared. Setting boundaries helps but not if you’re not going to actually stick to them! I haven’t found a strong balance but saying no is my first step! I saw this same topic when it was kind of thrown together at PartnerCon and I think that we as women face different challenges than men and we can’t ignore that fact!

  7. Michelle Sidles

    I think my personality is slightly obsessive. It’s like whatever is "THE THING" at the time takes all my time, focus and energy. And the other areas of my life are neglected. If the THING is my photography then the family and exercise and faith are neglected. If the THING is training for a triathlon then the business, the family, and everything else is neglected. And no matter what the current THING is I’m feeling guilt about the neglected things. How do you acheive CONSISTENT balance? Question of my lifetime, huh?

    And since I won’t be at WPPI I would TOTALLY be ok with you posting about this subject on the blog (after WPPI). ;)

  8. Ray

    Beautiful entry. Sometimes I wish for my childhood back as well. Congrats on being on the Woman’s Panel for Pictage! And OMG, I totally forgot about this AMAZING wedding shoot that you did! I must go back and find it! ;D On another note: I love that you’re not afraid to be honest and put yourself out there. It’s awesome. <3

  9. Melissa Pearce

    OMG, I totally used to be She-Ra complete with sword and shield. I loved this entry…not only do I feel the same way about craving balance, but you helped me reminisce, too! Thanks! And congrats!!!

  10. Kare

    I love that you guys are Pictage users – I JUST signed up and am trying to figure it all out, but I think it was an important step in getting my business to another level. As for balance, my problem is balancing work, work, and personal life – it’s the pesky day job that gets in the way of the fun photography job.

  11. Lesley

    I struggle with balancing my work time, with well, work time. I find I get distracted by blogs and facebook that when I look at the clock again the day is gone. And I have already told myself that once I’m off the computer @ night I must log off, or it will just get worse with time. My solution: I don’t log into facebook or my reader 3 times a week. I feel completely disconnected those days, but I get so much work done! :)

  12. Patti

    Ah, to be a kid again… I think balance is much easier to achieve than we all than we all think we just don’t allow ourselves the chance. Women are the worst offenders. Everything MUST be done today!!!! I too have been guilty of this (once or twice, wink), but with a little help of a wonderful man I have improved. The secret is realizing what is important to YOU in "your" life. Many women try to please everyone else and then feel guilty for taking any time out for themselves and the things that they love. This and only this is a must to have a balanced life. You can figure out whatever time schedule, routine, etc. you would like, but if you do not include "me" time your life can not be balanced. Figure out how to suround yourself with positive people and this "me" time will become much easier to attain.

  13. GrandmaIna

    As a retired grandma, I can say balance was a lot easier when we didn’t have all the electronics. When I was home, I couldn’t contact work and vice-versa! I spoke on the phone when a friend called or I did, not when I was doing something else!

  14. Lydia

    So cannot wait to meet you and Justin at WPPI!!

  15. Emily

    We are inspired by you too and people like you make the community what it is. Cant wait to see you…and I struggle mostly with balancing my day-job and my business :)

  16. Caitlin

    I was trying to write something poignant about balance, but all I have is something silly, but still effective! When work made me get a blackberry I felt like there was no space between home life and work life so we made some loose rules, and the no blackberry in the bedroom seems to be the best one. Before this I would find myself lying in bed trying to go to sleep and still answering e-mails from west coast colleagues. It meant the work day never ended. Seldom is something so important that it can’t wait for a response in the morning, so now it gets turned off and put away for the night. Another rule for us is to change out of work clothes when you get home, something about wearing those things that were in an office all day just tells your body and mind that you’re still on work mode. Pj’s help make things balanced :)

  17. Katelyn James

    I save my to-do lists!!! Maybe i’m just extremely type A but when I see a list and conqueror it, I can stop working. But the list has to be realistic. Re-designing a website is not an afternoon task! ….( Really, you shouldn’t take advice from me, I’m still so bad at this balance thing!!! )

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