The Search for Balance

BAlanceIn the months since my decision to stay in the country and commit fully to launching MADE SAFE, I’ve been working hard. This is nothing unusual about working with a startup, especially one that has the lofty goal of changing the face of industries. But I’m not used to it. Coming from working with a Missoula nonprofit (a decidedly relaxed situation) followed by not working at all for several months meant that I went from 0 to 60, and I just kept accelerating until I was well above the speed limit.

There are people in this world for whom that’s sustainable. I’m not one of them, and I know I have a fair amount of company. For this camp of people, we can only go balls-to-the-wall for so long before we start to shut down, burn out, and lose passion for the thing that we’re going all-out for.

For me, shut down was the result of a few straight months of long work days tied to my computer and cell phone, working early mornings, late nights, and through weekends–turning down invitations to hut trips in Cooke City and the Tetons along the way–capped off by a national launch and several days in Los Angeles at a frenetic conference.

Along the way, I was starting to lose the parts of myself that are constructed from the things that make me happy. I needed to come up for air from this work storm and find the reset button.

If you know me, you know that there are three things in this world that make me happy no matter what: spending time with people I love, adventures in the mountains, and shaking it to good live music. Post-launch, the universe delivered this trifecta straight into my lap with impeccable timing. I went to one of the best live shows I’ve seen in months with family and friends who are like family that I haven’t seen in far too long.

Then I took a long weekend, hitting the road in my little car with my skis strapped to the roof, music blaring, and my canine soulmate stretched across the backseat to meet up with friends in a little slice of heaven called Nelson. After four bluebird days of backcountry touring through the mountains of British Columbia in good company, with steep beautiful lines and a lot of laughter, I felt myself fully resurface.

On the drive home, I thought a lot about the concept of balance. When every other meme on social media tells us we should abandon all responsibility to follow our bliss or some other bullshit, it’s easy to believe our lives should involve nothing but the pursuit of beauty, adventure, and love. Those values that are massively important to me, but so is good and meaningful work. I need a purpose worthy of pouring passion into. The blend of these things in equal measure is what makes me happiest and most complete.

The trick is finding some semblance of equal measure. I haven’t figured out yet how to maintain balance in my life as it stands, but I’ve returned to my computer and my cell phone after hitting the reset button with a commitment to practice it.

As always, suggestions and advice are welcome.

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