Take A Breath

Take a breath. Step back and look up. I didn’t do much of that for the last two weeks. The first half of that time I was helping a client with their manuscript. The second half of that time I was preparing and publishing my newest book, Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland. Hours and days of staring at the screen. There is a time for everything, including a time for work and a time for play. A time to lean forward and concentrate and a time to stand back and relax. That’s true for me. That’s true for we.

I’m definitely in work mode. Partly that’s because a lot of long term projects, like five-year photo essays and introspective travelogues, are finally coming to fruition. Mostly it’s because I’m trying to make enough money to pay the bills. Regular readers have heard enough about that. Anyone new who is interested, scroll back through the posts. That’s what they are there for. (Maybe start with Rule of 7.)

The good news is the wealth of tools available to individuals. The photo essay and book I’ve just mentioned would have taken a lot of darkroom work and months of negotiations with agents and publishers twelve years ago. Now, with some hired help it all gets done for less than most folks spend on a vacation. My friend and client may have moved his book ahead a few months by using my fresh eyes to see the missed words and commas that are filled in within the mind of the author. But, the important part is the amazing amount of creativity and productivity that is unleashed by decentralized tools empowering people.

Use some of those tools and it is easy to fall into them, learning their nuances, bumping up against their limits, and eventually producing a personal creation. It becomes a positive self-reinforcing cycle. Ah, I created my first whatever. Now I know how to create a better second whatever. There’s a bit of a pause after the first, that allows for the reflection, which produces the improvement in the second. Take a breath, find a new perspective, and things improve.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been so focused on this computer screen that I have to make sure I step back and stand over by the window every hour or so. Otherwise my back tries on a new shape, my eyes forget that they can focus at more than one distance, and various muscles are either over used or almost neglected. I know it is time to take a break when I feel my neck and jaw tightening.

I’d like to celebrate the publication of the book (and the subsequent sales on amazon – on sale for $2.99!) by taking a step back and catching my breath for a few days, but many projects have been neglected in the meantime. Fewer resumes have gone out (though I edited them a bit at the specific advice of a few friends). I still have to get around to sizing a wing for a collaboration. (Unfunded, of course. Anyone want to help create a new kind of airplane?) There’s research to do for a philanthropic incubator. Consulting proposals for my business aren’t going to be written by anyone else. And we finally booked a date (January 26/27) and venue (Mukilteo) for the next self-publishing workshop. Details must be arranged.

Work and money and life must be kept in balance. For a while I lived my ideal. The mornings were directed towards making money. The afternoons were spent with life maintenance. The evenings were for socializing and definitely for dancing. Each day was different, but the proportions were about the same. Life is different as my money has temporarily departed my vicinity. I look forward to the swing of that balance, and the increased balances in my accounts.

It is common to say that our culture is out of balance. Too much work and not enough play; and the work isn’t very efficient and the play is too proscribed – on a societal scale. Sometimes I think we are fixated on a few topics that are important, but are unproductively elevated to extremes. I’m not surprised. Those issues are important, engage people’s passions, and are usually hard problems to solve. Their advocates may feel that they never get enough support, so they shout louder and raise the stakes higher. Soon, important but dull things like bridges are neglected.

Washington State’s legalization of marijuana surprised me. It’s almost as if, amongst the big debates in other states, tucked away in the upper left hand corner of the map (because you know they’ll draw Alaska in the Pacific beside Hawaii), some folks spoke up just loudly enough, we all took a collective breath, probably inhaled, and voted in legalization and may help prompt the repeal of marijuana prohibition. (A little more than a week away within WA.)

I wonder what we’d accomplish if we dialed down the national debates for a while, took a collective breath, maybe inhaled (just kidding, sorta), and took another look at our collective situation.

And then I turn that mirror to myself. I learned that lesson. That was why I went to Scotland. I needed and wanted to take me away from an increasing workload, force me to look at something other than a computer screen, and to simply walk and breathe for three weeks. I didn’t do it to write a book, but the walk changed my life. A small, simple thing happened. I found joy. How could I not write about that?

I’ve got a long list of things to do in addition to what I listed above. I continue to abide by my Rule of 7, which means I probably won’t be taking many days off. But I think that after I post this, and share it out, I’ll take my cup of tea and go stand by the window. Maybe the mountains will be out. Maybe the whales will be swimming by. Maybe some simple thought or thing will wander in while I breath.

About Tom Trimbath

consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: http://trimbathcreative.wordpress.com/about/ and at my amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0035XVXAA
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Take A Breath

  1. wired2comment says:

    Good luck with the Book- I will buy a copy.

    keep the faith- I read your blog when ever you update it. I am still in DNDN and hoping… not that hope is much of a strategy, it is just the one I seem to be able to execute.

    I pray the lawmakers do not discontinue the mortgage interest deduction to pay for their lack spending discipline- from where I sit big government is slowly stealing everything from the working middle-class-

    First failure to enforce regulations – allowing our investments to be manipulated by various means such as naked short-selling and credit default swaps. Then- bailouts for businesses to big to fail- Investments banks got bailed out. Now the banks refuse to reloan (read refinance) on terms we can meet- so we are held hostage as you have been until they wring out the last of our savings.

    We are locked into a high interest mortgages and now they are talking about doing away with mortgage interest deductions. Guess it is time to dust of my backback and buy a ticket to Europe.

    Hope your tale of scotland offers me the inspiration I think it will.

    take a look at kickstarter for seed money if you have not already http://www.kickstarter.com

    Laura

    ________________________________

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s