I’m drawn to the unexpected contrast. I love when the purest 24k gold is battered and rustic, glowing richly in its simplicity. I’m overjoyed seeing that humble glass once adorned the crown of some long lost prince. I find joy in these playful surprises, the balance of contrast endlessly fascinating.
Looking closely, I see these patterns in my own life. My house is a mixture of vintage and brand new, comfort and eccentric formality. My cooking blends haute cuisine with comfort food. My favorite time of day is twilight when the bright sun of afternoon fades to evening indigo and the trees are black against the sky. The extremes play counter to one another in a balancing act that I call home.
This season feels much the same. As a child I loved the frenetic gaiety of the holidays, counting down the calendar until Christmas and taking delight in every festivity along the way. As an adult, I still take great joy in this season, but I find the quiet times between rejuvenating rather than boring. The last year and a half has brought so much heartache to the world, but it's given us gifts as well, reminders that we needed in our fast-paced lives. I find that I'm not ready to step into every celebration with the same ease that I once was. As much joy as I find in festivity, I also crave quiet coffee mornings and stillness.
I've been thinking a lot about balance lately, not something that comes all that naturally to me. My natural tendency is to jump in to my passions with both feet, riding the wave of inspiration through exhaustion toward joy. Like many makers, my career is also my passion, a pastime that was once a hobby.
It is ever challenging to separate work from life when the thing you do for income was once the hobby that helped you relax. Where do you draw that line? It’s hard to put the work down at the end of the night… I realize as I type that it should say "the end of the day” but that in itself is the problem. It's so easy to work late into the night, because once upon a time that work was my relaxation. That is the conundrum that keeps me working late into the night, every night, leaving me bleary-eyed the next morning to face life. In this place most of all, I struggle to find balance. The balance point is precarious and always feels like it's moving.
I don't have an answer to this cosmic question, I just want to send it out into the world. Today, instead of rushing through a 20 point do-list, I put the list away. I know it's there, lurking just out of sight, but instead of launching into today's schedule of creative productivity, I gave myself a break. I baked apple cake while a Christmas movie played in the background. I’m writing this from the comfort of my couch rather than via dictation while driving on my endless rounds of “Mom errands.” I don’t have the system down, but the intention is there. Balance.
The longer I type, the more melancholy this sounds, when in fact, the opposite is true. I love this season. I have no cynicism towards Christmas music, I want everything to smell like gingerbread. I only write this as a reminder, to each of you with your own challenges this month, there is no right answer. Seek balance. Rejoice in the quiet coffee and leftover pie. Celebrate with friends. Shine bright, and allow yourself rest.