"I need to be a castaway on the desert island of my dreams."
- Philippe Petit
I often find balance to be the hardest thing to, well, balance. When I look at my life's components, (career, family, health, money, personal time, friends/community, household, romance, etc.) I get overwhelmed simply by thinking of all of the components. How do I find a balance between all of life's elements? This past summer at our annual Shabby Chic Spa Weekend, my cousin Jill (a life coach, among her many talents) presented us with a pie chart featuring some of the above mentioned "pieces" of life. We were to rank each pie section 1-10 (10 being perfect, 0 being non-existent) and then redraw the outline to reveal a new pie shape. This would illustrate which pieces needed the most attention and which ones were topping the charts. Although I was not surprised when I looked at my newly defined pie parameters, I couldn't help but ask myself, "Now what?" Yes, knowing which aspects need the most attention is the first step, but knowing how to work on them is quite another.
How do I learn to balance not only the illusive segments of life, but mine? How do I fit working out and making our bed and going to work (looking camera ready in case I am pulled into an audition) and staying in touch with friends and calling home and planning for the future and getting/staying involved in some sort of Jewish community and making a healthy dinner and spending quality time with Brian and keeping the apartment clean and exploring Santa Monica and getting enough sleep to do it all again the next day all in one day? I guess when I type it out, there aren't that many moving parts, but somehow it seems like I'm always dropping at least one of the balls I'm trying to juggle.
I've been told the key to that success is forgiving myself if one of those balls does happen to fall. One of my personality flaws (yes, shockingly, I do have them) is I am an all-or-nothing person. I'm on an extreme diet or eating everything in sight. I am on a strict workout regimen or none at all. Part of growing up, I'm learning, is knowing that things will not be perfect. There might be an occasion when I will decide to have a cupcake at work, that doesn't mean I go on a crash course binge and all of my knowledge of healthy eating goes out the window for the following week. I might decide to sleep in and not go on a morning run with Brian, that doesn't mean I punish myself and say things like, "Well, I guess I have to wait until next Monday to start running since I haven't started the week out as a committed runner."
One of the most difficult aspects of pursuing a career in entertainment is the lack of consistency. Ironically, I am most productive when given the least amount of time to produce. When I am working regularly and auditioning often, I am also squeezing runs to the dry cleaners and grocery store into my commute. When I am home without either, I am thinking about all of the projects I want to start, yet sit watching marathons of 19 Kids & Counting.
So my goal is now to not have a perfect balance, but a sustainable balance. A forgivable plan to remind me of my goals (both immediate and far off) and help me to accomplish that feeling of inching toward order. Because in the end, all that matters is who you love and who loves you.
But won't it be nice to know that along the way you got a helluva lot done, too?