The Importance of Balance for the Working Artist
I have always been a big fan of the “work and play” mentality. Working too much will burn you out and kill your passion, and playing too much stifles productivity. Fortunately, I learned early on the importance of maintaining a balance.
From a very early age, I wanted to be an artist. I would steal a stack of computer paper from my father’s office and some of his mechanical pencils and go to town. This has remained a constant (minus the computer paper and cheap pencils) for my entire life.
Coupled with my desire to draw, was a fascination with horses. From the age of 11, I was obsessed. I would oftentimes spend six to seven hours a day with the horses, grooming them, riding them, goofing around with other young riders like myself. In short, it was heaven. But I never found that it replaced my passion for drawing, which remained a major focus during the rest of my waking hours.
When I went off to college in Georgia, I owned a horse named Hugo, who stayed behind in Michigan. I thought I needed to focus on school and prepare to jump-start my career. I wouldn’t have time for horses anymore. I think I got about a month in to it and realized that I was feeling depressed. School was going great, I was really finding my footing, so that wasn’t the issue. Part of me was missing, and I knew exactly what it was. My parents immediately agreed that not having horses in my life was a detriment to my overall well being. I had been so involved with them for nearly a decade and I just seemed more motivated and relaxed when I was riding. Thus, Hugo made his way to Georgia and remained with me throughout college and well into my first job.
Presently, while working 40+ hour weeks, I still am able to find time to ride. There is never a doubt in my mind that balancing my love for horses and my passion for art has made me better in both areas. Riding is a creative regenerator and a physical outlet, while making art is closely akin to nirvana, focusing my mind and energy. Finding a balance can make life more livable on the whole for anybody, and I truly believe it is worth seeking out.
What’s your greatest passion outside of your career? Let us know how you maintain a healthy balance between work and play.
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