When one part of your life is more enjoyable than the other, there is an overwhelming desire to stay rooted in the good spot. Doing the good stuff. Working on and in the inspiring moments that make a lot of the other things worthwhile.
The alternative is the other tougher side. It could be your work, possibly your home life, or even your challenges with your spouse. This is the area that you would choose not to be fully engaged in. It is the essential role you play, and it is typically a functional need. A need to survive by working to buy food and shelter, a need to procreate, for family, for a route to happiness and longevity.
This tougher road to travel is a must-do; the other flip side is that want-to-do. You can think about this thing during the dullest of moments, and it keeps you mentally occupied.
The life you’re drifting off to during that meeting that is oh so boring…
Painting that picture, walking that route with the travel guide, mountain biking, skiing, reading the classics, dropping into your music, playing and listening. All of that and much more can be the passions that you drift into when you need that positive mental bit of energy.
For me, video editing, grabbing pictures, and this blogging has been my escape. I like to read and study, but now it is complemented by the need to create something. My day job, that alternative, has no finished product. I don’t create anything that you can point to and say. I made that. That is ok for now, because I can create on my own time and pause to point at the achievement. A finished piece. One pays for the other, and that is the equilibrium of life. But I will keep challenging the balance.
One day, I hope to win that fight and get my desire to stay on the creating side for the most significant part of the day. However, for the moment, it is all snatched slices of time. The day job stresses are managed by the upside of the positive, creative energy that is generated from the grasped hour here or the half-hour reflecting on a bit of writing while sipping a coffee on my break.
The thing is, I hate walking away from the creative moment. I would hang in there and stay the course until late at night because I had the drive to finish to get a result. I don’t want to slow the mojo, risk losing my momentum or my creative thought pattern. That, though, was not good for the day job energy levels. I would be tired and sluggish throughout the day. It could be considered self-destructive because it was not the time to swing the balance. After all, I need to eat, stay warm and pay the bills.
Now I have got the balance much more into a sweeter spot. I know when to walk away from the flow and how to get back into it. It’s a timing thing; getting back into the momentum you had left the night before takes time. For me, it usually takes about twenty to thirty minutes to get back on it when you sit back down to pick up where you left off a day or so ago.
The other course correction I have partaken in is getting my mind right. Framing the work not as a single day project but as an exercise with milestones of small achievements. I have drawn the creative activity out as a series of mysterious adventures. Each has a specific task to complete, which can be done over several days.
My son referred to it as being very similar to playing a computer game. Not being much of a gamer, I vaguely get that connection. For me, I was thinking more old school. I was definitely in a different place from my son because I saw completed edges and easy to join pieces where he saw levels and dead zombies.
He was thinking mayhem and conquering. Oh, the energy of youth.
I just thought that my creative activity was more like a peaceful jigsaw puzzle. A slow endeavour that I was in total control over and had no deadline to complete.
I can walk away and come back to it as and when the moment takes me, and it will be done when it is done. And when it is completed, I can point to it and say out loud…
I finished that, and it feels good.