I'm ever-so-slowly readjusting myself from a loaded summer schedule. I feel like there have been so many things to celebrate, I haven't had much of a chance to spend time in my studio. And I KNOW I should be so pleased that I have so many engagements and friends to laugh with, and I am, but I just don't get that "on-top-of-it" feeling when I don't have a chance to be at home, alone with myself - to relax in my favorite spots, to make myself a meal that's exactly what I want to eat, to sleep in my own BED, to get to do exactly what I want to do, even if it's just for a couple hours. I really need that.
Recently, I've starting hatching a plan to become an advocate for The SLOW Movement, specifically when it comes to those of us creating our own businesses and working for ourselves.
How many times do you hear a story about a freelancer who talks about how busy and all-consuming their days are with work? Where even sleeping becomes a chore that's challenging to fit in? Where their nose is smashed so hard up against the grindstone that they even lose sight of the joy and pleasure they originally found in their work??
Maybe, right when I got out of college, I would look up to these go-getters, (I mean they're getting SO much done, right?) but now I'm finding my opinions are changing. Sleep a chore?? I LOVE to sleep!! No joke, it's on my list of Top 10 Favorite Things In The Whole World! Why would someone choose to live a life where this daily (indeed, necessary) pleasure is taken away? No, now I find myself disheartened to hear of all these wonderfully-creative people throwing away their life balance for meaty portfolios and whatever kind of accolades they can find.
Certainly one of my goals in being a freelance maker is to counteract the mass-manufacturing of cheap goods that have proliferated in our world, along with humans' diminished understanding of quality and craftsmanship. There is definitely a culture of people out there, like me, who want to produce goods and provide services that center around these goals. High-quality, small batch, handmade, ethical, etc. What I don't understand is why those of us who are creating these alternative businesses still hold themselves to the rigors and demands of big business - make it faster, make it cheaper, grow, grow, more, more, more. When are we ever going to stop??
What I say is this - you make a product, you provide a service and you keep pushing until you find that sweet spot, where your materials, labor and overhead are covered, where your bills are paid at the end of the month, and you provide a quality result that makes you and your customer satisfied. And that's IT. You take on what you can handle and leave behind the rest for another day or another person. For some of us, there will be more work, for others of us, it will be less. But at the end of the day, it will be just right for you. And we can all still make the time to include life into all this.
Is that too much to ask? And, yes, I did ask myself if this was just a way for me to rationalize my laziness ... and I say "yes" and "no". I don't think I work at a rate that I'm completely satisfied with yet but I'm working to get there while also balancing the other things I deem important that are outside of the realms of a career. To always be balance will always be a fantasy but we can actively work towards it everyday. No one but you can understand what is truly important in your life.
I really like to work and move around and have purpose to my days. I also like to cook dinner every night and hike the nature trails near my house and zone out for long periods of time looking at cool things on the Internet. I don't like stress. I don't like staying up all night because I have to to meet a deadline. So that's why I'm deciding to not allow the Maserati-speed that society keeps pushing us towards to influence me or my work - to accept that this might mean I have less dough in my pocket, or achievements on my resumé, but know that instead I'm choosing a healthy lifestyle.
With lots of sleep.