On Balance & Priorities

October 5, 2015

on balance and priorities I wit & whimsy

I’ve got a bit of a different Monday post today and it’s a long one but I hope you’ll bare with me…

You see I’ve been thinking a lot about balance and priorities lately. (Actually “a lot” is probably an understatement.)

When I spent a week out in Colorado in early September it was almost as though heading out to the mountains, not working on my “real” job (PR) and having no set schedule sent me into a tizzy. I was still battling a weird summer cold, I wasn’t sleeping well (having horrific very real-feeling nightmares, in fact) and had enough alone time with my thoughts without the usual distractions and my normal routine that I was practically inducing mild anxiety attacks.

Wait WHAT?

Exactly.

You see, recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’m at in life. I’ve spent years watching friends get married and now friends are starting to have kids. They have mortgages and college funds for their kids and a lot of things that aren’t part of my own personal reality. And it’s scary. And strange. And very thought provoking.

When I turned 30 in June I thought a lot about where I was at in my current standing. And when I truly, carefully consider it…I’m content. But when I think about how I’ve prioritized my life for the past few years, lately I’ve been having this feeling of panic.

Which is strange, frankly. Because when I look at my life from an outside perspective, I’m pleased. I’ve been successful in my career. I have incredible friends. A supportive family. A creative outlet that I’ve established as a brand.

So what’s missing I’ve been asking myself? What’s been giving me that unsettling, constantly anxious feeling that’s been nagging away at me (and really came to light when I spent time off in the mountains…)?

Balance.

Balance is what’s missing. I think what I’m realizing is that I’ve allowed certain frustrations in my career to cause me to put a lot of focus into my blog but not in a passionate, heart and soul effort kind of way. Rather I’ve been consumed with the competition of growing my blog and monetizing it and constantly saying “what more could I be doing?” that I’m missing out on the part that I even started it for.

As an outlet for when I needed one. An outlet to write and explore and enjoy.

In short, my priorities have been all out of whack and I’m trying to figure out how to get them back on track. But you know what? It’s hard. Really hard, actually. When you’ve become all consumed with this anxious, competitive sensibility it’s hard to know what to shift to improve your state.

I went to dinner the other night with my cousin and I was talking to her about my career and the blog and my life in general and where I potentially wanted to take my next chapter. She is in her 40s, is incredibly successful, works full time, has a husband and two children, a busy social life and an impressive network and has been a mentor for me for many years.

When I raised some of my aforementioned concerns and ponderings she succinctly said to me “professional. social. extracurricular.” And then went on to say that until my blog was at least 75% of my income, it is an extracurricular activity and needs to be treated as such when it comes to certain aspects. And you know what? I agreed with her.

Which was…

…slightly devastating.

I’ve poured a lot into this blog and I’ve tried to make it grow at a faster pace. I’ve thought far too much about Instagram followers and content development and post schedules and early mornings to shoot but what I’m coming to realize is I haven’t figured out the key to the success I had hoped to have but I also have managed to lose the sense of balance I once had doing both a full time job in PR and doing this blog. And I also really want to get back to enjoying penning this blog vs. being stressed by it. After almost nine years of doing blogging I can tell you that that feels really H A R D given how much the nature of the “industry” has changed.

Maybe it is because I feel older in this new decade I’m now exploring or maybe it is because I’m thinking critically at what it is I want to pursue for the next chapter in my life but in the end I know that what I feel right now is a severe lack of balance and a totally unsustainable level of stress.

So with all that I’m sure you’re thinking “my god, she’s come unglued” or “so…what gives?” and what I’d say is that I’m working on figuring that out.

What have I done to date to help alleviate some of all of these emotions and internal turmoil I’m feeling?

Here goes:

  • I’m talking to people whose opinions I value about how I’m feeling. Getting third party perspective is really important to me. I have a really wonderful, supportive group of friends and a great family and what I’ve realized is we all go through things that give us similar sentiments. Situations may be different but sentiments are often shared. Friends and mentors have given me tangible advice and thoughtful criticism or change recommendations that I’m working on implementing.
  • I’m sorting out my sleep. I’m trying to give myself more regularity and working on stopping looking at my phone whenever I wake up restless or can’t fall asleep. When I can get back to a (somewhat) regular sleep schedule and start to re-prioritize it, I know I’ll be in a better place.
  • I’m saying no more often. I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to over-scheduling myself and in attempts to avoid FOMO. I’m trying to ask myself “Where do my efforts need to be this week?”
  • I’m (attempting) to get back to my routine of working out. I felt so good when I had this figured out but then I got bronchitis and then a sinus infection and basically for six weeks I was knocked out. I had low energy and a total lack of focus.
  • I’m putting less pressure on myself and attempting to create less content and be ok with it. Having less scheduled social posts and less “I need to take a photo” moments. You may notice these changes and while it hurts me a little to make this change, I think my sanity needs it.

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And that’s where I’m at today. (With more to come no doubt…)

Anyone out there share these sentiments? (If so I welcome any and all life balance tips :)!)

[Photo captured in Colorado by my mom wearing LAKE Pajamas]

16 comments on “On Balance & Priorities”

  1. Oh goodness- I have felt this way, actually within this last year after moving back from NYC. I am starting a new career (TODAY) and I think I’ve finally figured it out, for now. There’s so much ‘competition’ with things that we all lose out on what makes us happy. I’ve been learning to unplug and enjoy being in the moment instead of ‘enjoying’ the moment and needing to capture the best Instagram photo. Even at 26 I’m seeing friends have babies and get married…and I’m not there yet. I have an amazing boyfriend and we live together and on that track but we look at our friends and we are just amazed because we simply aren’t there yet and instead of competing we are blazing our own trail.

    1. Kari – good luck on the new gig – that’s so exciting! You’re so right that we all lose when we continue to look at our lives vs. those of others. Awesome to hear that you’ve honed in on the right perspective on life and love your spirit of “blazing your own path!”

  2. I am RIGHT THERE with you. When I posted about this recently, my eyes were opened to so many people who were going through the exact same thing. In fact, your description of the way you’ve been feeling couldn’t be more similar to mine. I have literally been having panic attacks!!! I lost sight of why I was blogging and lost the creative drive that initially started it. I am so glad that people are opening up about this – I think it’s a lot more common than we realize. Your site is such an inspiration for me, and it’s one that I consistently check…even on the days that I can’t bring myself to read everyone else’s. Keep up the good work. Your originality and creativity shines through every post, and I will definitely keep coming back! Thinking of you! xo

    1. Annie – thank you for your lovely words. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone and I would love to read your post about the topic! and your appreciation of wit & whimsy means the world tome – THANK YOU!

    1. If you have any secrets I’d love to hear them re: sleep!! And bravo to you for throwing balance out the window – how refreshing (teach me your ways!)

  3. Go Meghan! You are charting the right path! Breathe and find the time for the things that make you feel great and the rest will follow. 🙂

    XO
    A big fan

  4. Great post. It’s the cross roads. I’ve been there before. We all get there. You’re a smart amazing women. You’ll figure it all out and be your happiest ever.

  5. In astrology, the years between 29 and 31 are known as your Saturn Return—and we experience one about every 30 years or so throughout our lives. Each one symbolizes a different period of transition in life. (Look it up, it’s fascinating!)

    I’m so confident that you’ll find a happy balance. BUT. Remember: You don’t have to have it all figured out or perfectly balanced ASAP (although I know you want to, my Type A Trap Queen).

    1. I need to read up on this and have you download me over our next drink please! (And will continue to need the reminder that I can’t balance it all but so blessed to have friends like you that remind me of that!) XO

  6. I love this post so much, and I think so many people out there (myself included!) can relate to you. Smart phones and social media came in like a tidal wave and created an environment of overconsumption and competitiveness. And it’s exhausting us all! (Take a look at this awesome post from SHUT UP I LOVE THAT, which expresses a sentiment similar to yours—http://www.shutupilovethatshirtonyou.com/2015/10/happy-birthday-instagram-5-years.html#_is=1rl8a4b1c4docswyu4h6nwhch). I’ve been wondering if we’ll see another shift in our society, when we finally have our fill of social media consumption, blog competition, and personal brand building, and I think we’re getting to that point. It feels so good to strip down to the basics again, if only for a little while!

    1. YES! I loved Taylor’s post today and you are so right that the topics are linked! Thank you so much for the encouraging words on striping down to the basics – LOVE that mantra!

  7. I love this post, Meghan! As a new blogger and a new mom who struggles with balance in all things, it’s such a refreshing reminder to step back and make sure every aspect of your life is getting the attention it deserves. And while it’s good to sit back and evaluate, do your best not to compare your life with others around you…five years ago I was totally single in Manhattan and now I am married with (almost) two kids in Miami…life can change really fast so enjoy every minute. XOXO

    1. You are so right, Angela! I would love to hear how the journey continues for you with the new blog – you amaze me lady! Thank you so much for the uplifting words – I will always admire you and so glad this blog brought you into my life!

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