Saturday, December 31, 2005

new year's resolution

My father used to have my sisters and I write New Year's resolutions every year. Our lists were the most impracticable goals, ranging from "win the lottery" to "ride an elephant."

Now that I am older, I understand the "resolve" part of these resolutions a bit better and have tried to lower my expectations. For 2006, my deepest desire is to balance my life better.

This is due to a recent conversation with an illustrator friend of mine.

"I look at my paintings and all I see are months I was chained to my desk," she said, "And I look at all my books and I realize that so much of my life has been spent locked in my studio. While the world was happening outside, I've just been sitting at my desk. In some ways, I feel like I’ve wasted my youth."

Her words really struck me. I don't want regrets in my life, but they seem inevitable. Creating children's books is something I love but the path to a successful career is more competitive and demanding than one would assume. So, the dedication and energy funneled into this passion is time stolen from other areas. Robert constantly feels like he has to compete with the studio, meals are missed and the household is neglected due to my unrelenting focus.

And perhaps the most tragic are the experiences that I'm missing. The times that slip by unnoticed but always bring upon remembrances of guilt. How many times has Robert eaten alone while I feverishly painted? How many times have I not answered the phone calls of friends and family because I was too busy? How many dinners and get-togethers have I postponed indefinitely because my schedule was too full?

But it’s unrealistic to think my devotion to creating books can be “turned off” as well. Not only is it our fiscal foundation, it’s become intertwined with my identity—no easier cut off than an arm or a leg. But I know it can be balanced better so that other areas are not abandoned. So, that is my New Year’s resolution.

As well as “win the lottery,” of course.


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