The wonderful thing about finding something you are passionate about is the thrill you get from doing it or even just being around it. It's so easy to immerse yourself to the exclusion of all else, and even, everyone else. Some folks think if you're truly serious about something, then that's the only way to be. To some extent, I do agree. For example, if you enjoy motor racing, and you want to compete at national level, sometimes, even local level, you're going to have to put in the hours of practice to hone your skills to be able to compete.
The last couple of months have been quite a journey in trying to find the balance between the thing that brings me so much joy and the responsibilities I have as mom and wife and friend. For a while, I happily let myself get lost in my passion to the exclusion of everything else. As anyone can tell you, when your life becomes unbalanced, the road starts getting really bumpy (to use our car analogy). The children start remarking on your frequent (and prolonged) absences, your home starts being invaded by "Thing 1" and "Thing 2", and everyone knows what a house looks like when they've been to visit! Family pets start reacting to you as if you're a complete stranger and friends begin to wonder if you were abducted by techno friendly aliens who allow you to post Facebook statuses as you feel need to. Significant Others become quietly resentful at getting whatever time you have left, instead of the best you have. You find yourself making all manner of compromises in order to make time for your passion. For some, all this might seem admirable and an indicator of dedication, and maybe it could be. To me, it slowly became a point of anxiety.
Life has a way of talking to you, though, if you'll listen. It starts with a quiet whisper, a little word of caution from a friend, a off hand remark from a stranger, a song on the radio. Little messages letting you know that you need to make a decision. Add in a crazy month of preparation, entertaining, birthdays, and unplanned dental emergencies, and you suddenly find yourself in a position where you are forced to prioritize. And prioritize not in the way you'd like. Everything that had been bumped to the bottom of my "To-Do List" suddenly HAD to be dealt with - NOW. At first I panicked. Afraid that I would lose the thing I held so dear. In the situation I was in, there was nothing I could do. Don't you just love when Life insists on teaching you something.
The crazy whirlwind that has been my life the last four weeks or so, is finally calming down to a coastal gust, as it were, and while I would love to report that nothing has really changed, that wouldn't be true. I learnt that even in pursuing your passion, it is important that you never forget the people who were there for you before you found that spark. When Life says, "Not now," it's not saying "Never." I have managed to find some balance in all this. A schedule that works for me. Accommodates the whole person I am now and not merely fragments of me. And yes, an outlet for my passion as well. Maybe not in the way I envisaged or planned, but maybe what I had envisaged wasn't what I needed right now.