I have immense amounts of fun working on our little youtube channel (Naomi and I might have kept our neighbors up last night because we were laughing so hard), but it is also very hard work. I'm putting everything I possess (right now intrinsically, but pretty soon it might also be monetarily) into this project, and I can't seem to stop. Through that passion and dedication, I have come to understand other people in my life whom I sometimes feel don't have enough time for themselves--or sometimes even me.
I have grown to respect and empathize with them because of this and see that when they aren't able to spend time with me, or are off in their own little world, it's not because they don't care about me--frankly, it has nothing to do with me. Because we as humans are inherently egocentric in the most gentle meaning of the word, we tend to think that the way someone treats us is an extension of ourselves; perhaps we did something wrong, or they don't like us as we thought they did. However, sometimes their own world has merely consumed them.
There is a danger in this of course, one that I am trying to avoid. We can become too absorbed in our work, and by extension our own small world, and not fulfill the needs that others have for us to maintain relationships with them. I feel a bit sorry for Lane, my boyfriend right now, because I have not spent very much time with him. However, I am trying to be receptive and give him the time and attention necessary to cultivate a healthy relationship.
In addition to the danger of losing loved ones, there is also the danger of losing beloved skills. Recently, I haven't had any time for the hobbies I enjoy, such as aikido, music, exercising, and reading. While we sometimes have to prioritize certain activities, we must always prioritize work-life balance. This is a very new concept to me, as I've always been in danger of working too little, so it feels strange to be thinking about the topic from the other perspective. At what point do sentences such as "I don't have time to do ______ right now" turn into "I used to do_______"? As we stop spending time on hobbies, we run the risk of becoming less well-rounded, feeding ever more into the cycle of work obsession.
The less we are able to do activities we enjoy that have nothing to do with work, the less we are able to think about anything other than work. As an extension, we think about other people less often. You might say "Well, I work at a non-profit where I think about other people all the time, so that's not my issue." However, if you only think about the people related to your work, and not friends or family, it is still self-involved. You are not giving the people in your life the attention they need, yet you get a sense of fulfillment from what you are doing for your job.
I realized today that when you are in work mode, you should be in your own world; however, perhaps we need to schedule times when we think about other people. I say schedule because it oftentimes is not something you do naturally, you have to prompt yourself to do it. However, if we dedicate time to think of our friends and family, spending the time to make connections with them, we will be able to break free of work.
I'm going to give this a try today. I want to spend some time with my friends--really spend time with them, pouring my energy into their stories and lives instead of just using that time to talk about myself and Plaid Plain Productions.
Off to join the rest of the world,