Some people say that variety is the spice of life. I beg to differ. The real spice of life is Contrast. Variety is merely the way you choose to use that spice. Spend some time in the sun and you’ll appreciate the shade. Work seven day weeks for a month and those two day weekends become a more magical time. Contrast.
But how do you find that contrast in your life? Or better yet, how do you distinguish the line between push and pull to enhance the richness of your life, in both work and play? I want to report what I’ve discovered in my 2011 retrospect.
The power of contrast.
It’s no easy task, especially if you’ve developed a lifestyle that punishes you for not keeping up. Take for example my attitude earlier this year –I spent a significant portion of 2011 scouring the web for auditions and film gigs. Intertwine that with constant networking, relationship building, and a day job. You have yourself a making of a really busy schedule with very little time for leisurely activity. Nearing the last quarter of 2011, I started to feel the fire diminish, intense still, was the need to pick myself up when I’d fail –but I found myself less inclined to set myself up for action. What happened?
Some call it burn out, I’d like to call it lack of contrast. I simply wasn’t doing enough of something else to offset all the activities I was engaged in. My solution (and salvation) came in various forms and things; All of which, were a much needed mental reprieve.
I started spending more time with friends. Close friends. The ones who were keen on talking about the same things I liked but were willing to share themselves happily. Through that, I allowed myself to separate myself from constantly discussing and toiling at my “to do” list. For some, this is a no-brainer, but for others -like myself, distanced from their own family, this doesn’t always come naturally (over time). For my friends’ gracious and at times, over and beyond generous hospitality, I thank them.
I returned to old obsessions. One in particular: Gaming. While it proved to be a determent to what I was trying to accomplish earlier in my career, I’m approaching it at a different angle. I want to be more engaged to the industry. (I know I know, I can’t turn the hustle off any more, it seems) –I’m a proud owner of an Xbox 360 and a little more ownership to a more well rounded life. Not only am I enjoying my down times, I’ve incorporated that love into something I’m passionate about exploring and being a part of, from a producing stand point.
And finally, reading. Yes, the same reading you do every day except But, instead of pouring over books about producing films, cinema theories, psychology essays, tech reviews and scripts, I’m diving back into the more narrative literature. Swords and magic have replaced, in small doses, tripods and editing. I can already feel my brain more revived! To help ease me back into that, I purchased an Amazon Kindle Touch.
These are some of the steps I’ve taken to ensure longevity of my optimism and mental health. Take note that these are “MY” steps and you may or may not find them to work for you. I am, however, trying to promote the awareness of contrast and how it can benefit your life.