Finding the balance

There has been a lot of talk lately around the Internet and in the news about finding that ever-elusive thing we call work-life balance.  There have been a lot of words spilled about how much we should be working, how hard, and from where.  This piece in the NYTimes summed up the dilemma nicely, particularly the dilemma faced by hard-working young women who put off starting a family for starting their career.  It was interesting (for me anyway) to hear from a woman who made the choice to put off having children and who later regretted it.  Putting the “kid question” aside for the moment though, I just need to sort out some of my own thoughts about this whole issue.

In fact, come to think of it, this idea of “work-life balance” is really what this blog is about.  Finding the balance.  I left my first full-time teaching position because it had swallowed up my life.  I was totally unprepared for the excruciating daily challenges of teaching at an underfunded, underserved urban school.  All my wonderful idealism flew out the window (along with some of my books which were actually thrown out the window when I wasn’t watching…”Never turn your back on the ocean,” a wiser, more experienced teacher later told me).  I hung in there for three years, mostly out of stubbornness and sheer love for those tough, sweet, funny, infuriating 13-year-olds.  But I always felt like Sisyphus pushing that rock up that hill, just to have it come rolling back down.  And just when it started to get a little easier, I decided I had to do something different.

Teaching online instead of in-person was meant to be a stopgap while I got my MA, just a way to keep working and paying the bills.  And then I finished my MA.  And I suddenly had time.  Time….free time!  Time to do whatever I felt like doing…like making things.  Using my grandmother’s sewing machine which my grandfather shipped out across country to me when she passed away, because he figured I would be the most likely to use it.  Time to read.  Time to write!  Write a blog!  This blog!  And also time to fret about the future, all those possibilities, all the things I “should” be doing with this new-found freedom.  I was driving myself crazy with this wonderful, overwhelming freedom!

Clearly, I still haven’t figured this whole thing out yet.  In the swirl of possibilities, it is so easy, for me at least, to get carried away and try to do too much all at once.  And again, this blog probably reflects that in its somewhat randomness and unthematic, sporadic posts.  Sometimes, I need to just stop doing and be.  And remember that sometimes, that is enough!


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