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Balance is one of those things that is always hard to manage. Sometimes I wish I could be the Nik Wallenda of life. Skillfully teetering between my ambitions and responsibilities while I walk the tightrope of time. Making sure to not miss a step and tumble to an early death.
I spend a lot of effort on my career as an engineer. The job has high expectations and a myriad of puzzles to solve. The feeling of completing a challenging project and helping delivering music to thousands is difficult to explain. It is a certain satisfaction. But with all jobs there is a certain level of stress and a devotion of time. One must balance that with down-time, hobbies, and spending time with loved ones. Often I get so wrapped up in work I run out of my two most valuable resources: time and energy. Once you run out of time and energy you find yourself tired and scrambling to get a few winks before the next shift.
Maxing yourself out too often leaves you feeling like you are in debt to yourself. I sometimes look at my guitars and ask myself when I'll have time to learn some new chords. My friends call me and ask me how I'm doing, reminding me that I haven't visited in a while. Moments like these are opportunities to sit down and reflect, relax, and sort things out.
Lately I've needed more time to reflect. I've had to almost seize some downtime. It was like driving down a snowy Buffalo road and slamming on the breaks. If you have ever experienced this you can recall the feeling of your car fish-tailing and hoping it actually comes safely to a halt. I have gotten involved in helping in some extra projects at work, hoping it would open a certain opportunity. This extra time I felt was an investment. Over 4 months I have traded off time on stage for time on the road working. In the short run it seemed like a good idea. However, the work has changed, the benefits are much less than promised, and I am trying to gracefully recover without crashing into a lamp post.
Music is my passion and the spiritual glue that holds me together as a person. Performing gives me a chance to step outside my room and share my feelings to others, in a way that is hard to do with words. I enjoy the quiet time spent with an instrument, a cassette recorder, and a notepad. During warmer months I like to find a spot in a state park or along Lake Erie. Writing challenges me in a creative and healthy way. Playing with recording gear feeds my technical side and marries my talents together. Collaborating with other musicians gives me a feeling of comradery.
So when the opportunity I was hoping for finally manifested, it arrived like a blind date from the fugly factory. I had to turn it down. The situation left me with a bad taste and feeling disappointed. I guess I can say that I walked away with a life lesson, but there is still some extra work to do that I can't get out of. As a professional with responsibilities I have to see mine to an end. My standard of work must be inline with my reputation.
As I stand today, I am leaning back to the other way, working to restore that balance between my ambitions and responsibilities. Little by little, shifting from overwhelmed to fulfillment. Depending less on one source of such feelings. Reminding myself of the saying, "don't put all of your eggs in one basket".
The stages are calling me and the music beckons my return.