Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Where's the Balance Point?

"You're a writer - you need to write".

I began my first post with these words. I still hear them in my mind. Some days it's a challenge to come up with something to write. Today is one of those days.

I'm exhausted. I had to push myself to get out of bed this morning. I decided I needed to get out, otherwise I wouldn't get anything done today. So I packed Heidi's laptop (it's easier to transport than mine) and came to the Neighbourhood Bookstore and Cafe. It was a refreshing walk.

It's quiet here at the moment; there are only 3 other people in the shop; reading, writing, studying. The staff keep busy with whatever. The coffee is fresh, hot and strong - the way I like it. The $.050/book shelf just inside the door of the shop has been restocked. A quick first glance revealed a few titles that interest me. I'll go check them out later.

This is a great place to sit, think, study, write, browse and visit with friends. No one tries to rush you out the door. I've been here less than 1/2 an hour and I already have more energy than I had when I left home. I'm not sure where the energy came from. Was it the walk; the sunshine; the fresh, nippy air; the dark roast coffee; all of the above? It doesn't really matter at this point. Point is, I'm able to keep my eyes open and put some thoughts together.

I'm still tired; I feel it in my body. The past week has taxed my reservoir of energy more than I had anticipated. I'm not able to sustain the high level of strength and activity I employed a few years ago. Is my age catching up to me? My poor physical fitness level? Insufficient exercise? My medications? My fragile mental health? I suspect it's a combination of all of the above.

I know that when I get wound up and immersed in pursuing my passions I use up a lot of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy. Now it seems that I am unable to sustain that driven activity anywhere near as long as I used to. My recovery time has grown much longer. The down times feel more intense and they gnaw at my confidence and courage to get up and try again.

There was a time when I refused to let the reality of my mental health challenges slow me down. I charged ahead, driven and carried by my passion for whatever I was doing. I didn't stop until my body cried "enough!" and shut down. I can't do that anymore. My body surrenders so much quicker now.  I know that's  a major factor in my reluctance to engage my passions.

I've been told there's a book in my experience, that I need to write it. I sense that too. I just don't know where to start, or how. I thought blogging would help me organize my thoughts and ideas, and help me develop the discipline of writing every day. it hasn't worked so far, although I must admit that I've been able to write more than I believed I could. And more frequently.

I'll keep trying.  But I ask myself how hard do I push myself? If I push myself too hard will I burn the energy tank completely dry? If I don't push hard enough will I just sink into lethargy? Where is the balance point?

As I reflect on my life I realize that in 57 years I have yet to find a balance. My psychiatric issues have added to the turbulence. Running with my passions has exacted a price. Can I still pay it? Do I want to?

My days have no structure. Maybe some structure would help (although I do like the free-flow of my days)?
Maybe coming to this cafe to write and study everyday for 3 or 4 hours would give me enough structure for now? I don't want it to feel like a job that I have to drag myself to. That balance thing again!

Engaging my passions is risky business with a high price. It costs me, my wife, my kids, family, friends. Is it fair for me to inflict that risk and burden on them?

I have a lot of questions and concerns and very few answers. Are the questions legitimate or are they an easily justified form of procrastination?

I don't know.

Do I want to?

Let me meditate on that a bit. I'll get back to you.

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