Recently, I have been treating myself to enjoying life. What I mean is, in the past year or so I have been so bogged down with personal obligations and work that I haven’t allowed myself to go on weekend trips, take classes, go to social events, or even read a good book. I was in a constant state of being either too busy and trying to fit everything in or punishing myself for not being further along in my career. As the year is slowly coming to an end, I am looking back at the crazy, and deciding that this new idea of balance people rave about might be worth something to explore.
In the entertainment industry when it comes to work it’s either feast or famine. There is no real middle ground. We are told never to turn down work since we don’t know when the next job will come, and can go a year or more without having any sort of break. When we aren’t working, we are told to grind our network, always be available, and to be smart with our money. Now while those are excellent pieces of advice, I never took it in moderation. For example, I seemed to be in this constant state of grind, not letting myself let loose unless it fit into a few boxes and was productive. My anxiety and stress was high. I’m doing all of this work but when will it pay off? I was constantly tired and mentally drained; living in a state of fear of not being in the right place at the right time, turning down “the” opportunity, or being forgotten.
Looking back, I have gotten a lot accomplished in the past year, but what interesting ideas or experiences did I have? Explore new cities? Consistent time with friends? When was the last time I laughed so hard I cried? I came to an interesting conclusion. If I devote 99% of my time to something career related and 1% to friends, family and enjoying life I am not really living life. How am I supposed to express life in my art if I am not out there living? If I am stressed how can I be creative? If I am fearful how can I allow myself to be vulnerable in my acting?
I am not a Guru. Nor, am I someone who has it even close to figuring it out. But what I did figure out is if I’m happy and fulfilled, I am a better artist, better friend, better wife, better sister, better daughter, and most importantly a better person. Needless to say I had a long talk with myself about what makes me happy. Am I still pursuing what I love? Yes! Creating makes me happy. Acting and Dancing brings me joy. Making a difference in this world is my fulfillment to my mission. So after listening to what my heart had been telling me, I re-worked some of the priorities in my life. My family and friends are always first. That never really changed, but now I am not worried about missing something if I have a family obligation. My career is still a top priority, so making time for events and classes to work on my craft are a need- both artistically and business wise. Volunteering and meeting people, trying to change the macro by putting the work in the micro is a non-negotiable. Now that I have my priorities and needs in check I am able to better schedule myself and find that amazing balance. The key is in the scheduling and saying yes to what is important. I found that giving myself the permission to say what I need and make that a priority is freeing. I am also more present in everything I do because I am getting all of my needs fulfilled- amazing how that works isn’t it?!
Life is a journey, filled with a million obstacles, victories, failures and joys. It is not to be missed due to fears and anxiety. So I urge you, that as this year winds down to not only re-assess your goals, but to re-assess your life. What’s working? What’s not? And most importantly, what makes you happy?
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
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(Pictures courtesy of angeliquepanagos.com and gawler.org)