How do you stay "balanced"?

This past week, some very nice folks from Chicago came into my art studio in the River Arts District. They are artists (oil painters) and while in town, they wanted to visit the Biltmore Estate (a must see!) and tour around Asheville’s River Arts District and see some artwork and meet some artists. So they were in the right place! We spent quite a bit of time talking about our art, influences, art history, culture shapers and obstacles to “making it” as a full time artist. It was a great conversation! One really great question they asked was how I stay “balanced” as an artist / husband / dad / human being. Really good question.

This is the one job I’ve had where I think it’s been difficult to stay balanced. When I was a project manager (earlier in life), I had no problem at all forgetting all about my job and focusing on my family. But now, honestly, it’s hard because creating art is not something that’s easy to stop thinking about. I can stop painting (that’s easy enough). But I can’t stop dreaming. I can’t stop thinking creatively. Well, not easily anyway. That’s been the big issue I have had to learn with this job, not because the job is so demanding but because thinking creatively comes second nature. I can be listening to you and hearing you (really) AND thinking about a new project I want to start when I get into my studio on Monday morning. But I don’t think that’s fair to the people I’m listening to. When I’m talking to someone, I would like to think I really have their full attention and…uh…I think that whole “do unto others what you would have them do unto you” principle probably applies here. So I’m not mentioning this as a strength. It’s a weakness, but there you have it.

I’m learning that the most important things in life are not paintings, but people. I think paintings are only important because they effect people. So I suppose the way we stay balanced has to do with granting the most importance to that which is most important. And that just takes mindfulness and awareness, and prioritizing accordingly. That sounds easy enough, right? We’ll see, but I am committed to learning to do this well. Balance. That’s where I’m going…