Word of the Year: Balance

Word of the Year Equation, Nadine Ruggles

I like the “Word of the Year” thought process better than New Year’s Resolutions for sure. Resolutions have never sat very well with me. Perhaps the two needn’t be mutually exclusive, and resolutions can be a smaller and more detailed part of the “Word of the Year” process. In any case, I had a look back at last year’s Word of the Year post even though I already knew that I failed at keeping it in mind along about March.

The word was “momentum.” Thinking back on it, the problem wasn’t that I didn’t have it in mind and it wasn’t that the solutions I tried to come up with wouldn’t work, the problem was that I got overwhelmed with feeling like I wasn’t doing enough, and then just didn’t do anything. It’s a huge weakness. I never feel like I’m doing “enough” and I’m definitely my toughest critic. When I feel like I don’t have time to do a job “right” I just don’t want to do it at all. If I can’t give it everything, I give it nothing. Even though I realized it, blogged about it, and thought about the problem, I still let it kill the forward momentum.

Life gets in the way

In my own defense, March was when life started to get even busier with the girls; college visits, SAT/ACT/AP/ITBS testing, applications for financial aid and study programs (both here and abroad) and all manner of things that college and college-bound students (and their parents) go through. In the fall, I became a taxi driver. In addition to piano, flute and equestrian lessons every week, LittleOne took a class at the college across town and started working five days a week, but she couldn’t get a driver’s license yet so there I was, putting on the taxi mom hat.

My driving schedule since late August has been ridiculous. I love driving my car, but enough is enough. It’s finally almost over (for my part at least); we bought her a car and she’ll have her license next week. I can quit feeling like a yo-yo going in and out of the house three to four times a day to take her here and there. Maybe I can once again concentrate on fabric and thread and pretty things.

Reassessing Momentum

Getting back in the studio for more than a brief visit here and there is only part of the equation though. Momentum is great, but I can look back at last year’s post and say that all of those momentum killers still affect me depending on the day. The other part of the equation is being realistic. I need to be realistic about how much I can get done in a day, a week, a month or a year and accept that I can’t do it all. What I can do has to be enough, and it’s surely better than doing it nothing at all. The whole equation looks like this:

Word of the Year Equation, Nadine Ruggles

Momentum tempered by (or divided by) realism equals balance. It’s great to be excited about what I’m doing and it’s wonderful to have the time and energy to keep on going, but some days it’s just not going to be like that. I need to be honest and realistic about those days, and not let them take over and start the cycle of doing nothing. At the same time, productivity should be balanced by play, and play balanced by productive work. It’s delicate.

This isn’t all about quilting or this site either, it’s about life in general. Keeping all the plates spinning at once over the long term is tough, and I don’t know how some of you folks out there do it. Heck, I don’t really know how I did it when I was at my most productive. Again, realism is the key. I need to do what I can and move on from it.

Looking Ahead

I have a few plans for this year, and probably need to do what ITMan is still telling me to do! I need to write them down and make a timeline. It might be easier to stay on course that way. In the nature of a quick “Here’s what’s coming up” sort of sneak peek, there will be changes to the site (you know, nothing big, just totally rebranding! 🙄 ) and I plan to finish one of the biggest UFOs I’ve ever had. Actually, it’s not just one big UFO, it’s a big UFO with a bunch of little UFOs attached. And if it turns out that it’s just too little and too late with that big UFO, so be it. I’ll have finished it on my terms and I’m not going to worry about not having done it sooner. It will be enough to get it done and move on. 🙂

What’s your word of the year? Or is it more of an equation or a group of words or an idea?