My first son’s birth coincided with the beginning of the dot-com crash. I went back to work when he was four months old, pumping in the small closet-like room at lunch and racing to pick him up at 5pm because he wouldn’t drink from a bottle. At work, our clients were losing their jobs and our livelihood was crumbling beneath us. To save our agency, we also needed to lay people off. So in between pumping in the closet and racing to feed my infant, I was laying off my co-workers and then doing the work they had left. I began crying in my car daily. I was exhausted and all my time was spent with a stressful job and a new baby who needed me. I was crumbling too. I had postpartum depression. My doctor blithely handed me some anti-depressants. It didn’t feel like the answer. She didn’t ask me any questions, just handed me a band-aid. I had two things in my life; a job and a baby and I couldn’t quit my baby.
I picture our energy like a balloon. I picture my balloon as the energy field around me. In my portrait work, when a client is waiting for their order to be done, I feel that energy like pressure on my balloon. At Christmas time, I especially feel this as soon as December first arrives. The pressure on the balloon intensifies and once their portraits are delivered the pressure is off.
In the spring, I do a lot of fundraising work. Although it is immensely gratifying and successful, I’ve been noticing that it not only puts pressure on my balloon, but also now deflates it a bit. I’ve over-extended myself. I have to make choices. A deflated balloon is no good to anyone. On the trajectory of life, kids grow, families change, jobs evolve or change and what was good then isn’t always good now. It’s time to look at my goals, the time I spend with my family, and decide how to spend the remaining time and why. I have a really hard time saying no. I’ve heard that to make change in your life, you have to put down 30% of what you are doing now to make room for it. Something has to go.
“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” Anatole France
My balloon is speaking to me. The future looks bright and shiny, but I grieve for what I need to lay down in order to move forward. Everything has it’s season and a new door is opening ahead of me.
It is time to fill my cup…and my balloon again so I’ll be ready.