Friday, February 24, 2012

Finding Balance: The 1st Chapter

by Laura Lofgreen

I’ve been struggling with big life decisions.  If life is a journey and I’m on a path, I’m searching for the map of directions.  This does not leave me discouraged, but more aware that every choice I make is a step toward my destination.  It’s amazing and wonderful to think God allows me to choose my path, but intimidating to realize how little control I actually have.  Once again, this doesn’t leave me discouraged, just more aware of the gift of my ability to choose and more determined to make the right choices for me.  Every day is full of excitement and disappointments, growth and opportunities, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes easy and sometimes difficult and I’m alright with that.  I’ve have never been one to be overwhelmed or burdened by life.  I work best under pressure.  I take on more then I should because I like being pushed.  I’m satisfied only if I’m growing and being challenged in big ways.  At times I’ve said to my husband, “I am my own worst boss because I never give myself a break.”    

I wear an imaginary tool belt full of band-aides for children’s boo-boos, pencils for children’s homework, diapers and a bottle in my hollister (never mind my keys or purse because they are always lost).   Being a mother of 5 young children creates a clear path of where I’m going with not just duties and responsibilities, but goals as a family.  Mother, wife, homemaker, house wife, all things I love, all these I’ve dreamed about throughout my childhood. I married my prince and he’s everything and more then I ever thought would be mine.  My children are my jewels.  Yes, I know my roll, I know my duties, yet I push to still be me; the individual with dreams and pursuits and passions all my own aside from mother and wife.

I can’t sit still for long.  I stay busy with loading the dishwasher and doing laundry, but look forward most when I am able to choose what I want to do with my time.  But, it’s a struggle, because with the pull to do what I want and to follow my heart means the dishes don’t always get done and we have cereal for dinner at my house more then we should.  I know the majority of my time at this stage is life is chore charts, planning birthday parties and sorting socks, so I try to balance my individual dreams into something I can do after the kids go to bed.  In other words, can I satisfy my own pursuits between the hours of 10:00pm-1:00am?   That’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years and it’s not working that great anymore.  My own pursuits have pushed there way into prime mothering time.   This is the struggle because more and more, when I have success as me the individual, it contradicts with me the mother and wife. 

Should I mention now I tend to over analyze things more then most. 

So what is this dream, what are these pursuits?  Skydiving over Antarctica?  Saving the whales?  Winning American Idol?  Discovering a cure for cancer?  No, it’s becoming a writer. 

A writer. 
(Just saying it gives me chills.)

Have I always had this passion?  No. I’ve only recently discovered (in the last ten years) how desperately I want to be a writer.  Most authors have known they wanted to write since the time they could read and write themselves.  Truth is I didn’t like to read as a child.  I never understood things I read.  I couldn’t focus.  I would get headaches.  I did like to write, but only occasionally and only if assigned by my teacher.  I did have a very active imagination, but not through books.  I liked to be outside climbing trees or looking for bugs.  I role played mother and teacher all the time.  Starting at the age of 8, I had a summer school where I invited all the neighborhood children to attend.  I made worksheets and assigned homework.  I babysat as early as age 8.  I also played with Barbie’s until I was 14, mainly because I loved fashion and would make clothes for them. 

So why the struggle with writing? Why the contradiction in everyday life?  Really, is writing such a threat to laundry and grocery shopping and snuggle time with my 6 year-old at bedtime?  Yes.  Because when I write, it is all consuming.  I can’t sleep.  I eat, live, and dream my characters.  I think I see them on the street.  I actually have stopped people and told them they remind me of a character in my book. I’m constantly deriving plots, twists and turns.  I write and re-write, edit and re-edit, research agents and publishing houses, etc.  I read everything in my genre, which is young adult.  I read every New York Times best-seller I can get my hands on.  I analyze writing techniques, attend workshops and more.  Writing for me becomes a fulltime job because writing for me is not passive.  I live to get back to my computer so I can write some more.


For the next few blog posts, I will explore my options as mother and writer and how to find balance.  I appreciate any suggestions or comments you may have.

3 comments:

  1. Great post, Laura.
    I have to agree that writing is all consuming. It is a full time job if you want to succeed at it. Fortunately, there are options. It's finding the balance that is tricky. I don't think as a writer that it is possible to be completely balanced. In fact, great writers are always a bit unbalanced. That's what makes a great writer! ha!

    that said, it helps when the people you love are supportive. It takes planning (cooking lots of freezer meals once/month) and taking advantage of time pockets: I write for a certain amount of time and then set a timer for ten minutes while I get up and move around and do a chore or two...for example, I can clean all three toilets, sinks and mirrors in the bathrooms in that 10 minutes now. or throw in a load of wash and vacuum the living room. But I have to have a list to remind me.
    have fun!
    hugs~

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  2. You know it doesn't seem to matter what your circumstances are. Something will always interfere. Lately I have been checking in with the Holy Ghost to help me figure things out. So far He's been great; I'm learning to listen.

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  3. Laura I MUST meet you. Any plans to be in northern California any time? ;)

    Although I'm in a different stage of life than you, this post really resonated with me. I'm looking forward to your upcoming posts.

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