You don’t have to know me very well or for very long to understand that balance is something that I really struggle with in my life.
I’m not talking about my depth perception and center of gravity–although I am one of the clumsiest people you’ll ever meet, and “injury prone” doesn’t even begin to describe me–but rather my penchant for taking on too many things and getting stressed out when I can’t fit them all in.
This year, in addition to starting the school year with six classes on my schedule, I’ve started: Reggie Dunlop-ing a soccer team (with more of an emphasis on coaching than playing, if you’ll refer back to that injury-proneness); writing two new blogs and doing a podcast (From the Fifth Row after every other Oil Kings home game, Marvel Made Me Do It up to five times a week, and Next Issue: Everything Dies every Wednesday); photography jobs on the side; being an Oil Kings season ticket holder; bringing back a focus on creative writing, art, and design in my life; and branching out from a life dedicated to hockey. All of that, and that’s not to mention homework, studying, and my vow to try and make more friends while maintaining my social life.
To be completely honest, it hasn’t actually been going that well. Prioritizing isn’t my strong suit–writing blog posts on a set schedule has seemingly toppled getting my studying done before midterms, for instance. I had to drop a class (I was legitimately failing for the first time in my life), and my efforts to be a friendlier person haven’t been as well received as I hoped. I don’t sleep well, and despite all of my new art supplies, I’m barely finding the time to use them–and don’t even get me started on creative writing, that’s gone nowhere.
One of the hardest things to balance for me is my tendency to dwell on the past when I should be focusing on the future, and then forgetting about the present as soon as I remember to do that. I know Edmonton isn’t the place for me anymore, and that I have to get out. I know I’ll have internships and job opportunities coming up. But sometimes I think I get so caught up in those things that it makes the present seem unimportant.
My room’s a good example of where I am in my life–on one side, it’s covered wall-to-wall in comic book posters, with a shelf of literally hundreds of comics. On the other side, you can’t even move your eyes without landing on a different piece of hockey memorabilia. Those two interests seem like the hardest to balance right now, even though they aren’t mutually exclusive–but I’ve always had trouble focusing on more than one thing at once, and even though I’m still going down the same path, it feels like these two loves of mine might end up pulling me in different directions. But while it might seem like comics have taken over my life–but that doesn’t mean hockey means any less to me. Love isn’t a thing that can be broken into fractions, and my heart is not a pie chart. There’s always room to grow and expand.
I’m trying to make the most of what I have in front of me, and it’s hard to keep that in mind–it’s definitely something I have to give a concerted effort towards. It’s been a few months of trying to load my plate up as high as it can possibly go, and I’m only just now starting to realize that I don’t have to do all of these things at once. Some of them, yes, of course–but is it absolutely vital that I try to balance writing the next great Canadian novel with doing my homework? Should I be trying to learn how to draw like a professional comic book artist at the same time that I should be studying for my midterms?
I have to realize that I have all the time in the world for some things. If I start that novel in the summertime it’ll still be as good of an idea as it is now. There aren’t any consequences to not improving my drawing skills, but there are for failing out of school. There are some things that my mind and body just can’t take, and sometimes I have to learn that the hard way, but to be honest, I’m glad that I am doing these things the hard way, instead of not doing anything at all and assuming that it can’t be done.
I used to tell myself that I couldn’t draw anymore because of my muscle and joint problems. That I couldn’t write anymore because of writer’s block, or a lack of free time. That my life didn’t have a purpose if I wasn’t doing something important with it. I’m notorious for selling myself short–but I’ve realized that and I’m trying to grow from it.
I can do anything that I want to, and anything that I set my mind to.
Just–maybe not all at once.