For the last month, I’ve been buried in projects, the latest being my own re-design, which just about melted my brain.
After finishing a big batch of new designs, I immediately started re-building RKA ink with a cruel, self-imposed deadline of a “few days” (see my maiden post) for graphics, design, content, and re-branding.
Um, yeah–so that didn’t happen.
A few days turned into a few weeks (and I’ll probably be ironing out the wrinkles for a few more).
The truth is, work/life balance is still an enigma to me. When I’m busy, I’m busy. Two months ago, as the kids in Chalchihuitán were wrapping up the school year and preparing to present our graduation play and debut the group’s very first original soap opera, I was dashing to the community during the day after working all night at a local posada (where I did most of my web design) then coming home and designing for a few hours before taking a short nap and starting all over again.
But this month I’m in Germany (I’m here visiting my sweetheart!) where there are no rehearsals to prepare or telenovelas to produce–just hours upon hours of designing, writing, and coding, all which provide the foundation for me to continue doing my extracurricular education work in Chalchihuitán.
Several weeks ago, right as my head was starting to feel like a fried egg, my boyfriend and part-time DJ pulled up a salsa beat on his computer, pried me from my keyboard, and started to dance. I was not dressed for the occasion (my typical design dress code is kimono + long underwear) and I felt like a dope, but I went with it. Fifteen minutes later, I still felt like a dope but I also felt refreshed.
We started scheduling “salsa breaks” at odd hours of the day. And, miraculously, my brain felt less like huevos rancheros.
Since then we’ve added guitar breaks, romantic comedy and/or apocalypse movie breaks, sing like Adele breaks–I’ve even started eating meals with two hands instead of switching my fork with my mouse.
When you run your own business, it often feels like you’re never really “off the clock.” A couple of days ago, I realized I was thinking in code. Design has literally been haunting my dreams. Building a business is hard work. Sometimes you gotta hustle. But if you want to make your hard work your heartwork, sometimes you also gotta groove.
Looking back, a salsa break or two might have done an RKA good when I was sprinting between rehearsal and the night shift. Many of us have been programmed to see work and joy as incompatible. But I think they’re the perfect pair. It doesn’t take much–a few minutes tucked into the pockets of your day where you press the You button and celebrate the simple joys of living. For me, it’s dancing salsa in my kitchen.