#dSavannahDefects – B is for…

B… balance

I kind of feel hypocritical writing about balance when I’m sooo not balanced in my life, no matter how hard I try. My sleep is out of whack (I’m writing this at 2:35am, and yes, I’m more often than not awake at this time), I hardly have any IRL friends left, my husband gets frustrated with me, and I get frustrated with me too.

But balance is something we all need to strive for.

You hear about work-life balance a lot, but what does it really mean? You’re supposed to have time for your hobbies and passions and friends and still get satisfaction from your work activities.

But… The “normal” work week for someone with a full-time job is 40 hours, but even more “reasonable” places expect more like 45 hours. And with cell phones and email and the like, it’s almost impossible to be fully disconnected from your job.

So, you have to fit everything else into the time you’re not at work, including sleeping, which takes up approximately 56 hours in the week if you get 8 hours each night.

And if you have kids? Forget about it!

When I was teaching full time, although I only physically spent about 12 hours a week in front of a classroom, I worked more like 60 hours a week… prepping, answering emails, meeting with students, researching, grading tests and papers, making up those tests and paper assignments to be graded, filling out required reports… Plus, being “ON” to present lessons – and attempt to be engaging and interesting and not boring – wears a body slap out.

When I was marketing director for opening a big mall, I would work more like 80 hours a week. (Somewhere I still have the calendar where I kept track of my hours and what I did each day.) I’d still be there when the cleaning crew was vacuuming the office (that noise drove me bat-shit) and the finishing staff came in to start their night, and I’d get back there in the morning before that staff had left. (I thank god for two things there: 1) the finishing staff had dinner brought in every night, and they shared with me, so I didn’t starve to death and 2) the magical suit that looked good no matter how many hours I sweated and ran around in it.)

If “work-life balance” means your work allows you to also pursue your passions, then obviously I was doing it wrong.

dsavannah_defects_noballsThe only job that let me pursue my passion of writing was my very first one out of college. And only because I was bored. Oh, so very, very bored. (And oh so very poor.) But I went home and wrote at least an hour every night, and I submitted to contests and participated in workshops and panels and groups, oh my. (And this was in the bad ole’ days of no internet.)

But I was so ambitious, I went forth to conquer jobs and hone my marketing craft, and my writing side fell away. (I’m still working on coaxing my muse back.)

And now, even tho I technically have all the time in the world to pursue my artistic passion, I don’t do it… because my health is out of whack. Out of balance. My only real responsibilities are cleaning the cat litter (which wears me out) and making and going to my many doctors’ appointments. Which sounds lovely (the free time, not the doctor visits), but it’s actually kind of depressing because I can’t do – or commit to doing – more.

I googled “work-life balance“, and got back “about 107,000,000 results”… yeah, that many articles have been written on the subject. Not to mention the ton of images that came back.

So what’s the answer? I don’t know. Go read all those articles and get back to me…

… believe

When it’s 3am (like it as I type this post) and I’m aching (my neck and my lower back, especially), and I’m tired and looking at bills is stressing me out, I have to remind myself to believe.

To believe that what I’m doing matters. That what I write matters. That who I am matters.

Believe that I’ll get well.

Believe that even if I don’t, I’ll learn to live anyway.

Believe that writing these posts will help someone know they’re not alone in their own struggles.

I hope you can believe too.

More ramblings / other posts you might want to read...


About dSavannah

~ #disabled #spoonie fighting numerous, chronic, painful #InvisibleIllnesses ~ also #wife #feminist #ally #advocate #papyrophiliac #DogCatTurtleWrangler
This entry was posted in #AtoZchallenge2016, #dSavannahDefects, art, depression, dreams, hard work, health, learning, perseverance. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to #dSavannahDefects – B is for…

  1. Linda says:

    I believe in you and in everything you do. While I know that we have never met, somehow I feel connected to you; perhaps we are kindred spirits. I know exactly where you are coming from and how you are feeling. It is incredibly difficult to adjust our perceptions of how we thought our lives would be to how they acturally are. Have you ever read the Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandio? I stumbled across it by accident and it literally changed my life. It really helped me accept where I was in my life and how to believe in myself again. You can find it here: http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/.

    Also, I don’t know what it is to sleep through the night anymore and the next time I am up during your witching hours, I will check for you on Twitter. Maybe we can tweet those lonely hours away together. Keep on smiling :)

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      Hi new friend, Linda! Yes, we can be connected without ever meeting in person. The spirit is all-powerful and all-over!

      Yes, I’ve read the Spoon Theory and subscribe to it. I might add it to my “S” post, tho I already am overwhelmed (and have written) “S” topics.

      I look forward to twitting with you! <3

  2. Joy says:

    Balance is so crucial. And yes, what you write/do/say/think matters!! My post today is about empowerment too :)
    - Joy Breaking Dishes (A Short Story of Empowerment)

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      Very cool! I look forward to reading it!

      The women’s shelter where we lived in Arkansas did that breaking dishes thing, then turned the shards into beautiful pendants. I have one, and made a necklace to go with it.

      *high five*

  3. Elaine LeDoux says:

    You know I love you

  4. Elaine LeDoux says:

    Geez Debbie….I wrote you a whole pontification and all that showed up was You know. I love you! Well, I guess that is the most important part!

  5. I’m struggling with the work-life balance, myself, so knowing I’m not the only one is very welcome! Thank you.

  6. Balance is the constant struggle. Life is being pulled in many directions . . . and balance, I guess, is when you find a ratio that feels right. I wouldn’t know. I’ve not found it either.

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  7. I think balance is a lot like Nessie…you kinda have to believe it exists, but there are many doubts that it actually does. Books, internet memes, movies, television, and social media all present these pictures of how life should be. And yet, you don’t really see too much of it about. I think it’s most important to do the believing part…and balance…meh…so you stumble around a bit. It’s all good.

  8. leannelc says:

    work/life balance is everyone’s dream! I am amazed at people who work full time, parent several children, write a blog and cook like a chef – where do they get the time??? I’m learning to prioritize – you really can’t have it all (no matter who tries to convince you that you can!) and finding what’s important and investing your time there helps smooth things out a little (but doesn’t make the bank manager happy!) Leanne @ cresting the hill

  9. I feel for your situation and I sorry to hear you’re unwell, firstly I hope the drs appointments lead to better health and wellbeing.

    I just wanted to comment about the end of your post in particular about needing to believe that what you do matters and I am going through something vaguely like this, and I’m working on the idea of actually accepting that I don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But that I can matter to myself, to my family and my friends. I can matter to the people I meet by simply being kind or having a joke to lift their spirits.

    Anyway I’m not saying that I’m right to think this, but it is helping me to let go of all the stress of things that I can’t control and accept myself for who I am, what I can do now in this moment and work towards the things I wish for incrementally.

  10. Tarkabarka says:

    I just had a mini-meltdown today about all the things I need to get done before the end of the semester… Thank you for the thoughtful post, it helped a lot :)

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      Glad my post helped!

      By the way, as I used to tell my students – the most important thing about school is what you learn. Not your grades or projects done, but what you learn! Even the dude with the lowest grades who graduates medical school gets to call himself a doctor. :)

  11. ellaedge says:

    I struggle, too! Hang in there and I believe things will work out for you~

  12. I’m an advocate of hard work. It’s what I grew up with…the only way I know.
    Hard work doesn’t kill…not to my knowledge anyway. :)
    That being said, balance IS vital to physical/mental/social/emotional well-being…it’s important to take time out to relax.
    Writer In Transit

    • dSavannah dSavannah says:

      In general, no, hard work doesn’t kill. I’ve worked hard my whole life! Unfortunately, my illnesses make it difficult for me to do any sort of work at all, let alone “hard”. Even doing laundry hurts and wears me out. :(

  13. Betsy says:

    Balance….we all have to be reminded because it is so hard to find it. Maybe it is a forever journey to obtain balance. Good luck!

    Believe…you do matter. You know that I love you. Sometimes you just need to be reminded. :)

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