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.
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 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.
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?
- 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.
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]