It happened again this week.
This was the week I was going to get my act together. I was going to finally do all the things I've been wanting to do - things that will help to satisfy my creative cravings and get me closer to a creative career where I'll be able to do big things and actually make money from them.
Yesterday, my husband woke up sneezing like crazy. It's officially allergy season in New York City, and he decided it would be best to work from home.
Of course, in our tiny New York apartment (tiny is a relative term - our place may seem big to native New Yorkers but seems small to us native West Coasters), two people working from home causes problems. And since he's the one with the job that actually brings in the money to pay for our New York lifestyle, he gets priority.
By the time I cleaned the house (to help stifle his allergies), took the dog on a few walks (since we don't have a yard), took care of some boring adult responsibility stuff, and made a meal or two, my workday was shot. Sure I got some reading done, and worked on my website a bit, but nothing that took a lot of deep thinking.
I gave it another try today. I got up bright and early thinking I would slam some stuff out before the rest of the household woke up. I put on some oatmeal to cook, turned the teapot on, and sat down to work.
But of course that didn't happen. One thing popped up after another - responsibilities that had to be dealt with, lest our little family be thrown out on the street with no place to go because we couldn't manage our bank account, pay our bills, etc. Before I knew it, it was 11 am and I hadn't gotten any actual work done. I still had to exercise, grocery shop and meet a client in just a few hours. Creative work would have to wait.
Where does the time go?
Finding a balance between life, work and creativity is not an easy thing to do. And especially since because my creative interests are not bringing in the dough (yet!), they're usually classified as second priority.
Logically, I know the answer is simple: make time.
There are plenty of authors and famous artists with day jobs and families. They often get up at 3 or 4 in the morning, sacrificing their sleep (and probably health and longevity) for their art.
But extremes have never worked out well for me. I know myself well enough to know that if I start trying to get less than six hours of sleep each night I will get burnt out quickly, and everything - my work, my creative drive, as well as my responsibilities - will go to shit.
The most puzzling thing to me is that I don't even do the things that "normal" people tend to do. I don't go out much. I don't have much of a social life. I rarely watch TV (with the exceptions of 30 Rock and The Office). I could cut back on the amount of exercise/dog walking I do, but those are the things that keep me sane, so that would probably be a bad idea for everyone.
I haven't figured out the solution yet. I'm sure there will be a lot of trail and error. But I'm determined to find a balance, and not let life's responsibilities get the best of me.