For the past two years, I couldn’t blog because I was busy with other agendas. When I wanted to take a time for myself and think, something urgent popped up from nowhere and forced me to intervene immediately. As a writer, I felt bad to spend a month without a new post on my blog or even a conversation about the environment or development with a friend.
But as I couldn’t be two people in one person, I gave up my writing and embraced the new adventures. That’s how I could earn a living, so I didn’t have a choice, like many of you. However, things were boiling bad inside my heart. I thought I was stupid every time I went to bed as I looked at the ceiling wondering why society would make me ruin my own joy just for the sake of a few bucks.
When I slept, I wished the night could be longer, maybe something like an eclipse, for me to write a paragraph. In the morning, I wished it rained heavily so that no one goes to work that day, for me to write the second paragraph. It was a moment of weakness, pretending, contradiction and low productivity.
But as days went on, I acknowledged my weaknesses as a means to become strong again. From people’s advice and reflection, I realized there is no such a thing as society ruining my joy. I had to learn how to master life on my island as well as in the crowd. When I was able to do that, I became free and was empowered to fulfill my personal interests while respecting the society’s must-do rules.
Why we are not good at being ourselves
We do our best to make positive things happen in our lives and others’ although we’re not able to maintain that momentum for a long time without messing up. For us to avoid risk and keep our benefits, we pretend to be strong and perfect in front of others.
At work, we smile to everyone and say we’re okay even when the job is intense. At the parties, we dance and shout to show a sense of togetherness with our colleagues and the public. At the church, we close our eyes and bow down even when we don’t mean it.
To keep our jobs secure, we pretend and contradict ourselves every day through the words we say and the actions we do. It’s as if being ourselves is abnormal. In other words, money has made us fail to be our sustainable selves.
How to find balance
There is no single formula to find balance for your life and work. It is something we all struggle with. As the world’s innovation advances, we usually find ourselves inexperienced and in constant need of money for new products and services.
Generally, everyone has been through some uncomfortable times while trying to meet their boss’s needs in a way that satisfies them personally. And because we naturally want to prove ourselves to others for profit, we can’t fight the balance battle easily.
Here are a few tricks that I practiced before getting back to my writing feet. My intention is that these tricks help you turn your overloaded table into a manageable workload that allows you to do what you’re incapable of doing now. However, there is no true or wrong answer to any of those tricks. Anyone can come up with theirs but I found them useful as long as money is concerned.
- Be honest about your situation: Acknowledging that you lack balance is the first step to balancing your life and work. I acknowledged my inability to write by looking at how much need came from my work. Almost everyone needed my help every day and I was the only one to help or the one to initiate support for someone else to pick it up afterwards. Writing was impossible because there was no time for it. Therefore, it wasn’t my fault. It was the situation that I had to adapt to or quit. I adapted.
- Stay alive. You’re not a machine: Don’t fight your body and mind as they try to send you the “have a rest” messages. Don’t pretend that you’re fine while you’re not because it won’t take long until the truth goes public. It is the body and mind that make us productive and alive. So, without their fully functioning ability, there is no energy to invest and hence no productivity. Money is necessary but life is irreplaceable.
- Slow down and diversify: To heal my daily pains, I decided to walk to the office and back home. I discovered that driving filled me with a feeling of urgency that I couldn’t support anymore. I also reduced my food quantity and improved the quality. I used to cook in bulk because I felt that I had no time. But this didn’t help because when I couldn’t write, say due to bad mood, I blamed myself more than I could do some cooking instead. I emptied my fridge and adopted a culture of shopping every day. When I did this for a month, I came back in shape. I could meet people on the way and could have a chance to think of what I have to cook next, not what I have to write next. Like this, I didn’t have much to blame myself for.
- Take a risk. Quit your current, demanding job and turn your passion into your new career: I’m not on this level yet but I’m considering it. I‘m convinced that it’s better if I do blogging as a career, not a side business. But I don’t think I’m ready. When I look at what it takes to quit, it’s terrible. It’ll take time and lots of sacrifices. I’m also afraid of failure. I’m still loading…I’ll tell you the updates when I’m decided!
What if we were able to say no to what bothers us and pursue our true callings fearlessly? What if money was the source of our balance; not the cause of imbalance as it is for many of us today? My next post is about the fear of failure and how to fight it. Stay in touch!