July 29, 2012 Check-in Striving for Balance

First, I want to thank everyone who left suggestions for how to find balance in my check-in from Wednesday,  Your support to dive head first into my novel is very helpful as well.

Following the quest for balance that I set as my main goal for the rest of this round, I realized that while balance is needed for many of my priorities, those same priorities such as family, friends, health and creativity are necessary to my balance.

Family: My sons are at the age where conversations are deep and thoughtful, but don’t happen all that often.  I want to be available as much as possible, not only for what I can give them, but what they can give me.  In th past two days, we have had conversations about primitive societies; the Aurora, Colorado massacre; the NCAA sanctions against Penn State and the child abuse that led to them; in other words, conversations that wake deep emotions in me and tap into the creativity that inhabits those deep crevasses.

Friends: Although some of my contact with dear friends, old and new, is through Facebook and Twitter, I need to add some real life contact as well.  I am lucky enough to have some friends nearby, but I have dear friends spread from the UK to New Zealand.  I want to find some way, whether Skype or the luddite standby of handwritten letters to stay in better touch.

Health: I have expanded my health umbrella to cover subjects from having housework and files under control to getting more fit and feeling better.  Having to search for hours to find my son’ s immunization records really brought to the fore how much I hate being disorganized.  It affects all areas of my life; I still have not found the writing craft books I packed  and labelled so carefully.  Worse, my edits for several of my academic articles and my short stories are in the same box, grr.

Creativity: Finally, I’ve mentioned before my aunt’s belief that idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.  She taught me how to do many different kinds of needlework, from knitting to tatting.  I had forgotten how satisfying it is for me to express my creativity in these ways. While knitting wool socks for the upcoming winter, I was reminded how this sort of work calms me, at the same time allowing me the instant gratification of getting something tangible done.  I have to fight the remnants of criticism I received in graduate school for doing needlework, where I was told it was not something intellectuals did. (Balderdash, but I still hear that inner voice).

The day job consists of sitting writing at a computer all day long.  I am busy enough I rarely take any breaks.  I am planning to take more breaks; I’m even setting an alarm to get up and walk around.  Once a week, a group gets together for an hour to knit or needlepoint and just talk.  I have set aside that time to sit, relax and work with my hands.  

That said, I do sped too much time playing computer games or staring out the window, so I want to address that soon.

Welcome to my new followers: Christopher Vennard, Cate Russell-Cole and Live4Life.

And please go give an encouraging word to all those in the ROW here.


12 thoughts on “July 29, 2012 Check-in Striving for Balance”

  1. Wow, I can so relate to this post! I’ve had a bit of trouble with balance myself lately; too much on the to-do plate, and it’s getting overwhelming to the point that all I want to do is play computer games. I’m taking a break this week and hoping that will help give me more motivation and less stress. Good luck in your quest for balance, and have a great week!

    1. Yes, Jennette, when I read your post, I felt a shiver of recognition. I hope your break helps you with the stress; I’m going to try some of the suggestions I got in the comments. I’ll let you know how they work for me. Have a wonderfully stress-free week!

  2. At least you’re still hacking away at it!! Kudos to you 😀 Those conversations with your sons must be amazing. I enjoy those on the rare occasion that they happen with parents, aunts and uncles, etc. All the best for this coming week!

    1. Thank you, Lauren. I do treasure the conversations with my sons. They are very deep thinkers and give me so many ideas for blog posts, if only I had the time to write them all. I am keeping an idea file, though.

      I hope you have a lovely week.

  3. I am not sure that idle hands are anything more than idle, but that said, I do find myself far more creative when I have some kind of hand project to work with. And I’m less likely to snack and do bad things to my body in my sloth, so “Cheer cheer!” for getting back to needlepoint an other crafts. And I would LOVE to see your tatting work… it’s a craft I’d love to learn.

    1. I completely agree with you, Eden, idle hands are nothing more than that. My aunt was a staunch Southern Baptist, so her world view was quite different from mine. It does sooth rattled nerves for me as well as wake up the creative side of my brain.

      I found my instruction book, tatting needles and thread, but my finished tatting must be in a box in the garage still 😦 ; and yes, that is tatting needles–I never got the hang of the tatting shuttle. I’m a bit out of practice, but I could probably teach you as I re-learned.

      1. Sounds delightful! I’ve seen some tatting done (with needles, but once with a shuttle too). I’d love to see your finished work too.

        I understand about your aunt. We all have people in our families with views that seem outdated or odd compared to our own.

  4. In my quest for balance, I have been studying ego and its relationship to consciousness. I really do think it may be a quantum matter. Quantum physics fascinates me, what little I understand, but the ancient traditions are proving to be quite fascinating on the subject of balance as well as being. I meant to add a comment to your previous post but just know the post and you have been on my mind.

    I agree with your balderdash comment regarding needlepoint, and I want you to know one of the finest medievalists I have known taught me needlepoint. His pieces are absolutely beautiful. I don’t miss the academic world.

    Regarding your comment on my check in: it would be great if we could talk sometime about the similarities in our writing and somewhat, in our lives. Now that the Higgs boson is widely accepted, can balance be far behind?

    Have a great week!


    1. I appreciate your reading and thinking about me, Karen. The main complaint I have with the academic world is its insistence on the disassociation of mind and body. My boys watched Futurama in their early teens, and the disembodied heads in jars fits my description of academic denizens perfectly. Sports, crafts, anything that was not intellectual was disdained. Ridiculous! Well, I could vent on that forever, but I’ll stop.

      I’d enjoy talking with you about similarities in our work and lives. I’ll send you an email–that may get us started. Have a lovely weekend!

  5. Ah, I hear you on this need for balance! In the month since I’ve been home I feel like my brain has been tugged in more directions than usual, which is saying a lot. One of the things that’s taken up a lot more time than I expected is catching up with old friends. I think I’ve forgotten how satisfying it is to actually sit down with people and spend time with them. 😀

    I love the idea of needlework! It seems as though knitting has been all the craze lately, both when I was an undergrad and in grad school, so I have asked my mom to teach me the basics now that I’m home. Always good to channel that creative energy into other areas besides writing.

    Hope your week is going well, my friend!

    1. Lena, I have found the same with catching up with old friends, but I find it so very satisfying as well. It’s a little too easy for me to submerge into the books and forget about the living, breathing people surrounding me.

      Knitting is making a resurgence, and it is probably a good craft for you to learn. It’s easy to do while watching TV or (once you’re proficient) chatting with friends. I find the creativity of working with my hands does fuel the writing, oddly enough. Right now, I’m learning how to hand-quilt. I inherited several quilt tops that my grandmother made in the 1930’s and I want to finish them. Somehow quilting them as she would have seems right.

      I hope you are having a lovely weekend, my friend. 🙂

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