Over the weekend, my body weighed in on my lifestyle. I’ve known it’s been coming for a while. I only get to live at full normal for a limited amount of time, ignoring my body’s needs the way most people can get away with.
As I forced myself to STOP, I thought about quitting everything altogether. What would my life look like without a business in it? What if my health causes me to fail everything and everyone I care about?
Pete keeps reminding me that I’m not what I think I have to be. I forget that I’m not as big as I think I am – even as big as other people think I am. Sometimes I laugh at the legend my mind makes of me.
But there is a practical difference between a “wedding photographer” and a “boutique photographer.” I am a boutique photographer not because I’m all that, but because that is what I CAN be. I CAN take six referral weddings per year and shoot them well and have a life. I CAN take limited portrait and editorial work on the side. But I CANNOT be a “wedding photographer” with 25 or more weddings a year with engagement shoots and marketing and business promotion and blogging and family on the side. Because I would die if I tried that.
I think that “balance” is knowing what you CAN do right where you are. It is filling up whatever moment you are in with what you need to be right there. It seems that “balance” requires me to be content with what I can be today – and to be realistic about who and what I am.
That is a tall order for a to-do-listing dreamer.
But as I’ve watched my to-do list get moved up and rearranged and re-prioritized on repeat for the last two months, I’ve realized that I have to accept the truth that I cannot do it all. Today, I can do the next thing. Shower. Eat breakfast. Take my pills. Go slow. Write a post, prep a few more, send off a shoot for publication. Check in with the kids. Breathe – always breathe. I FORGET to do that sometimes.
I bawled, reading that final line. There are so many of us in the world chasing dreams and begging for grace to fail, or to choose NOT to dream, or to live a little outside of the expectations we place on ourselves. There is a lot we have to be proud of – and a lot we hold that breaks our hearts.
It’s not worth running over my heart or my body or the life that is in me just to avoid failure. It’s not worth it because if I do that, I will miss your heart. My body tells me when my whipped adrenals keep me up late that I won’t feel anything; I’ll be a machine and I won’t remember what breathing is for.
There are things I could do if I had another person on board (and I hope maybe that will happen soon – we shall see), and things I want to see happen in 2012, but I have to be realistic about the fact that what I am today is not so bad, even if I am not all I know I can be.
It is not failure to be in the place I am in. It is just today.