I have taken a lot of time to reflect over the last month. I’m grateful for the opportunity. I have been working on building out fascinating stories and content for CMX, and I continue to work with amazing clients for my freelance community business. I feel blessed. In terms of my career and my work communities, I can safely say that I can ask for nothing more in the present. I am just here breathing deeply, saying thank you, before I start to shift focus on to whatever may be next.
Despite all the time reflecting, I haven’t been doing much personal writing. So I am grateful that I actually made the time to do this. There’s yet another thing to be thankful for.
These days, I firmly believe that there is no such thing as work-life balance, especially when you love your work. It is not about balance at all, and thinking in those terms has never brought me any closer to some elusive ideal where all areas of my life are given equal attention.
I don’t even think that would make me happy. Instead of balance, it is more about choosing what is important to you and focusing your energy on that thing. Other things may fall apart a bit, and you have to decide if you’re okay with that or not. If you are, keeping pushing forward. If you’re not, don’t focus on work so much. It’s rather simple in theory, and hopelessly complex in practice. I understand that.
Some Things I’ve Learned
I think back to a year ago, and sometimes I wish things had fallen apart more elegantly when I pushed so far into work burnout. But they did not. I learned. I worked with amazing people who supported me and had my back throughout, and, yes, that is something else to be thankful for.
In the year since then, I have learned acceptance. I have also learned to walk away from things that do not serve me. I can wish I walked away faster, but that doesn’t change anything at all. I am hopeful, and I am flawed, and I accept that. I will not accept people who do not respect my time or my kindness when it is offered with a non-judgmental, caring heart.
In terms of my personal communities, I feel that they have never been stronger. All of my friends have rallied around me this year and moreso in the last few months, and I’ve had time to re-connect and forge deeper friendships with many people. Again, I am grateful. I have wonderful friends around me and a family who supports my sometimes crazy ideas — even if that support sometimes just comes in the form of smiling and nodding. That’s often more important than anything else.
I often make myself feel like I am not doing enough. Lately, it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the work I love. Then a friend will text me and invite me out for a glass of wine, and I forget all of that. Because what is important is that I am happy with the decisions I make be they around my friends, family, or work, and it’s important I am keeping good people close to my heart and that I am taking care of myself.
Another part of what makes me happy, I have realized, is travel. It is a non-negotiable in my life. I must keep moving, at least once a year, but ideally much more than that.
So here’s some news: from mid-September through November, I will be on the road. You can find me in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, or in one of the many towns along the road from place to place. I hope to make it to Austin, Denver, Chicago, and Madison too, but that’ll be after the can’t-miss CMX Summit in November.
If you know anyone in any of those cities who I should meet, let me know. I’d love to get coffee with them, hear their story, learn from them, and discover new places.
If you’ve read this far, thank you for caring. And hopefully this has given you some pause to think about what your priorities are and the quality of people and preoccupations you may have in your life. If you haven’t though that far yet, now is as good of a time as any.