Finding the knit/life balance

In the US, people are always on about the work/life balance. Work can be so demanding and all-consuming that they have to remind themselves to slow down and make time for the good things in life.

Australia is different. Here, I’ve never heard anyone complain that work is so intense that they don’t have time to eat/sleep/socialize, etc. People here seem to have more of a handle on leaving work at the office. Of course I can only speak for Perth, but this sort of relaxed and casual attitude seems to be an Aussie thing in general. And I think it’s great.

What I am having is a crisis of knit/life balance. Lately I’ve been so consumed by my knitting habit obsession that I’m letting other things slide. I still work hard when I’m at the office of course, but my free time is being bogarted by my need to knit.

I listen to all these podcasters talk about all the projects they have in the works, and I just wonder how they make quality time for their families between all the knitting, quilting and spinning they’re doing. I feel inadequate by comparison, knowing that I’ve been neglecting those around me in a haze of yarn.

I need to figure out how to fit knitting in with the other things I love. I haven’t been reading everyday, which is unheard of in my world. I’ve even been exercising less (including yoga). I stay up late clicking away at the needles and then I’m exhausted in the morning.

Normally I’d be reading on the bus and on my lunch break, I’d do a daily workout of one kind or another, and I’d spend time with Matt and do some writing in the evenings. So where does knitting fit in?

2013-Participant-Twitter-Header

My plan for this year was always to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where aspiring novelists write 50,000 words in a month. I recently decided I just wouldn’t have the time. But why not?

It’s October 17th, giving me around two weeks to prepare. Even if I fail to reach the 50,000 word mark, I think this is a commitment I need to make. It’s been bothering me ever since I declared I couldn’t do it. There will be time to knit. There will be time to read and to spend with Matt. My writing deserves this, and who am I to deny it?

So this week is now about figuring out how to make time for all the things I love. Wish me luck!

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Dreamin’ big: Turning vices into cash

Recently I’ve been back in touch with an old friend from college. She’s been through quite a few changes in the past couple of years, so it’s been really great to hear about some of her experiences since we shared a home-stay in our Spain study abroad program as naive 20 year-olds.

One thing she has encouraged me to do is to, essentially, not put off to tomorrow what I can do today. I have several “long term” goals on the back burner, and they all have one thing blocking the way: money (or more accurately, lack thereof).

It seems that everything I want to accomplish is financially out of reach. Matt and I are saving for a house and wedding, and everything else seems to be best left for a later date, as we are already in crazy saving mode.

Even so, I took her advice, I set a timeline, and I’ve got my bank account automatically entering a bit of funds into my personal savings from every paycheck. What, you ask, is this lofty goal of mine? Well, to go back to school of course. Yoga school, in fact.

Becoming a yoga instructor has been a quiet dream of mine for the past year or so. Or more accurately since I sprained my ankle at the beginning of 2012 and felt a strong desire to get out of contact sports and into something more self-fulfilling in the long term.

Unfortunately, doing my ankle put off another life goal which I instead was able to accomplish this year – running my first marathon. Now that I’ve achieved such a significant milestone in my (what I hope will be) lifelong running career, I can settle back into a steady running routine and focus on other ambitions.

I’ve been doing my research trying to figure out which studio will best fit my needs. I don’t want to do an intensive (these are offered both in Bali and throughout Australia), because I want to give myself a chance to work out how to better fit yoga into my daily (rather than once a week) life over a longer period of time. I also want to treat it like a real postgrad program (much like how I will soon be treating much of my knitting and crafting like a real job), and set aside plenty of time to study in between classes and sessions.

Either way, study isn’t cheap. I am pretty good about setting my sights on something and patiently saving up. I find myself a bit judgmental of people who flash the cash and make huge impulsive purchases. I prefer to take my time and continually affirm it’s something I really want.

Yesterday evening Matt helped me set up Autoload on my Smartrider card, so my bus trips to and from work will now be about 30 cents cheaper, saving me roughly $3/week. It’s not much, but every little bit helps, especially when I spend over $20/week in public transport alone.

I’ve also opted to forgo my weekday morning coffee (anywhere from $4.50-$5.00/day, no joke) to save an extra $25/week toward my yoga training.

Today is day two of drinking the free instant coffee (bleck) from the office kitchen. It’s not ideal, but it gives me the hit I need without the daily expense. I know I’ll eventually get used to it, and that’s how I’m turning a vice into cash! What could you stand to give up if it means achieving your dreams?