Work-Life-Dance Balance – Chapter 1 – Choices
When I was growing up I lived out in the countryside outside of Ottawa. It was a beautiful area with forests and farmer fields. My sister and I ran around free and created adventures around our backyard, in the forests, the large ditches on the side of the road and even in the fields that were not used for farming. Life was a choose your own adventure book without thinking about bills, how we affected others except our family.
As we grew older we learnt that choices affected the world and the people around us and that the other people’s choices affected us. When we made a choice that would affect others negatively, our parents would make us aware of our actions, and taught us to be more conscious of our decisions. When we made a choice that affected other positively we not only had encouragement from our parents but felt the intrinsic positive energy that came from that decision.
Every day we make choices and every day we wonder if some of those choices were right. Each choice does affect the journey we call life, whether minutely or with large effect. To work at a job to just pay the bills is a choice. To work at job you enjoy is a choice. To follow one’s passions is a choice. The work-life-dance balance involves choosing how much effort and time you put into each part.
Choosing a Passion
It is important to note, that your passion may not be the same as another person’s passion, nor is it written that you only have to have one passion. No one can tell you what you’re passionate about. Your passion may not be as directly obvious to you because of external influences or perhaps it’s obvious but you don’t allow yourself to really explore your passion. The choices you make can decide which passion you want to follow and how far you follow it.
For myself, my underlying passion is the need to be creative. I’m not a painter and I’m not a writer of great novels; these are not my passions. If they had been, I would have found a way to do them. I was fortunate to have had the chance in school to experience music and outside of school dance, whose tendrils found roots in my soul. My father was very much a man that ensured that his daughters would experience music in their lives and believed that everyone needs to experience music in their own way. My sister is the singer in my family, while I played flute and learnt to dance. I have longed stopped playing the flute, although I tinker with it from time to time, but dance; I can not stop dancing.
My creative passion comes out mostly in dance. I always wanted to dance and I knew I wanted it to be a part of my life, however; I was taught that it was not a job that was necessarily sustainable and in some people’s eye not respectable. Although, I was discourage to pursue it as a life job, I was not discourage to stop dancing. So for me, my passion became a whisper in my ear to remember that it was there anytime I needed or wanted it.
When I finished most of my schooling and had my career job, I found my way to my first belly dance class. This choice has brought to me a world, of movement, of expressing my emotions, the full spectrum, and amazing experiences. Within this world, I have made the choice to focus on two styles of dances, one Bollywood and one Belly dance. Currently, belly dance is getting my most attention because I am preparing for a competition but also because it’s roots are the deepest in me. Why did I choose these dances? Both came out of choices I made. Belly dance was made out of the choice to join my sister in trying a dance her best friend was teaching. Bollywood came out of a choice to help a friend help an event organizer to fulfill an Bollywood Hollywood themed evening. Both choices were positive in their results and the seeds were planted and the roots grew.
Choosing to Balance Work, Life and Dance
We choose to work to pay for the life we want. If we want to be an engineer we choose the path that will make us an engineer. If we want to be a full-time dancer then our path is different than that of the engineer. Both choices require a lot of time and effort in their own way. An engineers’ life is often in an office and sometimes outside their office for meetings and/or going to a site their work is involved in, while a dancers’ life is spent either in a dance studio, theatres and/or restaurants locally or around the world where they teach and/or perform for others. Their choices affects how they live their lives. Do they hang out with their friends, spouses and/or spend time alone or do they choose to just focus solely on their work. These are choice each make regardless of their profession.
Work pays the bills regardless of your profession. It’s choosing how much you want to work and in what capacity or field you want to work in that affects your work to life balance. Life is choosing how to enjoy your work and the hours you live outside of work. I chose a job that pays the bills and satisfies one of my creative outlets; I like being technical. I chose to dance, teach and perform to satisfies another of my creative needs. I also chose friends and loved ones that are supportive my passions. Does that mean I’ve mastered the work-life-dance balance? Simply, no. It means I’ve made choices that have allowed me to enjoy my passions in different ways. Sometimes I have to work extended hours to meet deadlines. Sometimes I attend and/or host intensive workshops to improve my dance. Sometimes I just enjoy my friends’ companies. Life is fluid. It is a choose your own adventure.