Saturday, January 2, 2010

Balancing Act

[Warning... this blog rambles]

When I was little, I wanted to be a 'Tightrope Actress'--not sure exactly what that is, but I think I've managed to approximate this earliest of Goals. What does a Tightrope Actress DO after all, but balance precariously, trying to achieve her goal and fame, all the while lugging ALL of herself across that little rope.

Moderation Monster

I've battled moderation my whole life, always preferring instead to take on just as large a load on the other side... you know... balance. I love to eat and drink, so I exercise like a fiend to balance it out... It has typically worked until now... But I find that after forty, my joints and time constraints, not to mention that slowed metabolism, make it so I CAN'T exercise enough to balance how I'd like to eat and drink...

So too, in my life... there are just too many things to keep taking on MORE things to balance the things I overdo it on. I may just have to make peace with moderation after all...

So I'm trying... take for instance the Clutter Moderator...

My husband would have me just keep picking up the little things as I go along. Sounds quite moderate. But being the all or nothing gal I am, it drives me NUTS to look at the dust after that pesky pile is gone. If I'm going to bother to pick up, I'm going to CLEAN the damn thing (not moderate at all). When he cleans the bathroom, he swirls stuff in the toilet, wipes the counters and uses a mop. When I clean the bathroom I take EVERYTHING OUT, scrub ALL the surfaces including the newly discovered 'use an old toothbrush to get the toothpaste drips out of the inside surfaces of the toothbrush holder'. I get on my hands and knees to scrub the floor... That is NOT moderate. But maybe if that's the only room I clean this weekend, I can CALL it moderate.

*boldly ignores piles of folded laundry that need putting away*

But he has far lower standards, so doesn't understand why I hate to clean so badly... Am I making any sense?

I just keep wondering if the writing or the eating will ever be things I can do moderately. Probably not.

Book Tour Fitness Plan

It's begun... and at the moment, for me, moderation means going the OTHER direction to balance how bad I've been for the last five years. Today is day one, so I can hardly evaluate how things are going, but I have my tools in place... notebook for the food and exercise diary... weighed and measured this morning (scary). Began my day with a power walk (wish someone had told me how cold it was—might have opted for the elliptical...) And I will do my strengthening/flexibility stuff once I get a little writing in—that's moderate, isn't it?

I just can feel that for four years my obsession has been writing, and suddenly another obsession is coming into play—one that needs to—for my health if no other reason (though the Book Tour is a reason that makes me happier, never mind there is not yet a scheduled book tour)

And the Writing Balance!

I've filled in the holes for about half my NaNo novel thus far, which will hopefully move it SOON from the writing pile into the editing pile, which gives me one less thing to obsess about (editing obsession has been slated for March and April) *coughs* Oh, I see how you are... spotting all my rationalization for what it is, instead of believing my fantasy that I might learn moderation.

But it seems to me, maybe the self awareness that I just am going to have rotating obsessions is about as close to moderation as I will ever get, and if I can balance with THAT I ought to just call it good.

And Just In Case: The Safety Net

I've been thinking a little lately, because of a friend of mine, about back up plans.

This is one of the places my early philosophy served me well. My mom always was clear that I needed to be able to support myself because you never knew what was going to happen (she was widowed at 28). I took that to heart and used my education. In my adult life I have ALWAYS worked. In fact I've had more weeks with two jobs than time I've had off, either between jobs or for maternity leave.

So while I want to sell the books I write, I have my solid safety net.

Fitness-wise, I don't think there is such a net, except that I reach a point where I'm unwilling to buy a larger pair of pants. Maybe my walking habit is a safety net of sorts. I had a massage before Christmas (thanks boss!) and the woman commented on how SOLID my legs are. They are bigger than I'd like, but they are rock hard. She asked me how long I'd been walking to and from work and I calculated... ten years of at least 4 miles a day every work day. As much as I need to fix something that's broken, I can see that if that wasn't in place, things could be significantly worse.

I guess the key to both safety nets, are I managed to put some detail entirely in my own control. It's not as fun or sexy as instant glory, but it is infinitely more reliable.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I always feel better about goals when I can find the bit that I'm in control of. (Here is my Type A thing working again...)

So, we're fighting genetics with its correlation to heart disease--but we can control the amount we exercise and how we eat. Or, I can't control whether a publisher wants my new series, but I can write a smoking synopsis and cross my fingers.

Otherwise, I wouldn't work hard at all...if I thought it was all out of my hands. Funny what motivates us...

(Warning...that was a rambling comment!) :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Jan Morrison said...

yah, moderation. Maybe moderation needs to be taken in moderation. maybe moderation for you is going at something hammer and tongs and then collapsing for a bit. it evens it self out no?
Keep on keeping on my tartlett.

Watery Tart said...

Elizabeth--funny, because I'm not type-A, but I can definitely be a control freak when it comes to ME.... And it definitely is a motivator.

Jan-you are after my heart again... Poo on the moderation! Perfect solution!

Creative Chronicler said...

Wonderful post!! I try for moderation too, but alas I am a Type-A and am borderline OCD so the odds are not in my favor.

Watery Tart said...

Yeah... I have that OCD thing down... just not EVERYTHING. It's like serial OCD... one obsession at a time. *snort*