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Trying to Find Balance In Isolation?

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 10:15 am
by sweetsoulmusic
I feel genuinely called to do a lot in life AND I have interests of my own that I want to take on as well. It's just so much that I don't know how on earth to balance it all. I'm left exhausted most of the time not knowing where I stand anymore. I'm sure many of you relate... I feel different from everyone. It's not just my experience of life as a gifted person and scanner, its a lot of other conditions I have or personality characteristics that distinctly set me apart from others. Unfortunately, others decide for one reason or another why they don't like me and I'm left with very few friends. I do care a lot about people and I like socializing, its just that no one wants to stick around. I'm blessed though that I have 2 friends who are like sisters to me and without them, I would not be as stable as I am now.

Then there's this other issue that I feel called to do many things in life. I want to be a recording artist on my own label. In fact, I'm currently working 2 jobs just to save up a huge pile of money to fund my first album on my record label Vintage Soul Records. I write all of my own songs and sing them all. The career path I want to take is very similar to what Ingrid Michaelson did and still does... many albums, songs all over the place on media, touring, running it through her own label, etc. I am also very into causes and feel compelled to be a part of them. I want to encourage women to see themselves as strong, not be afraid to stand on their own feet, and to let go of all those traditional belief systems that set women up to be abused and struggling in poverty. I want to do public speaking about these things as well. I contacted an organization that does all of these things called CARE to see if I could help locally. There's also another organization I love called CFCA and I want to hold a sponsorship table at the church I work at as a singer, it would also give me the opportunity to get my feet wet in public speaking (I've been sponsoring two people for over a year now through them). I'd also love to hold a book drive for an organization called Room to Read. I also want to write non-fiction books that help people as well... I've already begun 2 of them.

I take guitar lessons once a week, Kung Fu twice a week, and I'm itching to get back into French. I feel like if I let it go on much longer, I'm going to let time go by when I could have been learning the language. My overall goal is to be fluent in French and Italian, and I need to learn them one at a time. I don't know yet my relationship with Kung Fu, I just like that it makes me feel strong. I also try to run twice a week as well. I was doing trail running but then it got too hot for me outside.

My predicament is that I work 6 days a week for a total of 43 hours. The hours aren't all that bad, its the fact I only get one day off a week... Saturday. It doesn't leave much time for anything else except being exhausted. In order to save up more money, I'm trying to take on a third income stream as well... hoping I could do it through acoustic gigging, except I'm having zero luck finding a guitarist to play with me that fits my requirements. I've asked everyone I know, including my guitar teacher. It sucks working that much but I need the money to fund my dreams in the future. Which also leads me to think I might need to give up Kung Fu so I can have the extra cash in the bank.

It's frustrating because it feels like I'm not really doing any of the things I feel called to do, and I'm in forced isolation with very few friends and no romantic relationships... Because not many people can handle or understand me.

Any advice? Go through the same thing?

Re: Trying to Find Balance In Isolation?

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 11:06 am
by mango

I'm sorry that I have no advice (though that may change), but I wanted to tell you how fascinating it was to read all about your interests.
I can identify with a lot that you're going through. Maybe if I ponder your post for a little while, I can come up with something.

Just wanted to say that I'm listening. :D

Re: Trying to Find Balance In Isolation?

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 12:39 pm
by DirkSteinkamp
Hey Ashley,

it's great to read about all your interests. About friends --- well: I've been asking myself: when would you have time for more friends?!? It's great you have two of them who really stick to you!!!

I don't know what two jobs you are running, but did you make sure you get paid good enough? Any way to raise get more money for what you do? Or do you see any possibility to change to another (one) job, that eats up less time/energy but gives more money? If you do something like being a waitress you could maybe learn some more details on how to handle your customers extra-good, resulting in a higher tip ...

A thing to consider: you say you're saving. Did you make a concrete plan, when you want to have saved how much money, with dates and numbers? Maybe you could strech your plan a little by just 2 or 3 months, so you might cut down your jobs a little resulting in two free days a week. Just do the maths: having the money 3 months later might mean 60 working days later, which means you get an extra day off each week for a year!!!

On exhaustion: it depends very much on how you perform your work. Can you find ways to make each and every moment in your work more and more comfortable, enjoyable, interesting? If you love what you do and slow down a little bit (while you enjoying the delight of doing it) you will be less exhausted.

On French: I don't know which method you follow, but I've been totally thrilled by the language courses of Michel Thomas. They are available on CD (and maybe nowadays also as mp3), and have been ultra-effective and fun! I did the Spanish course and started Dutch. Italian and French are still sitting on my shelf waiting to be next, though ;-) ...

On Isolation & efficacy: did you ever consider finding a success team? I love it and often helping hands simply help to relax and find more effective ways to get to where you want to go in your single steps.

I hope there's a little something in it for you :-)

Take care

PS: And if I'm exhausted it's really worthwhile to respect this message from myself and plan in some breaks, cut some things out of my calendar or find some days off ... it's very worthwhile and also results in lots of creative inspiration for me!!!

Re: Trying to Find Balance In Isolation?

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2011 1:25 pm
by Scenario Thinker
I suspect not many gifted artists are well-understood (Micheal Jackson and Lady Gaga come to mind). I really feel music is your mainstay, and you'll somehow do something with that throughout your life, whether it becomes a living, or is on the side with a "good enough job".

How about reaching your speaking audience with the songs you write? Sing for those organizations. Not that you shouldn't speak if you want to, but through song, your message might be all the more powerful (it already might be, I don't know).

Feel good that you have all this energy, even though you are exhausted. It gets harder when you get older (unless you're Madonna :) ). The Kung Fu and French/Italian is great, but give yourself a break if you need to concentrate on finances for awhile. Think of the larger goal, and let the other interests come and go as you have time and energy ... they won't go away. Realize that whatever "sticks" in the long run, is what matters.

Re: Trying to Find Balance In Isolation?

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 10:29 pm
by sweetsoulmusic
@ Senario Thinker - Actually reaching out musically to organizations could be a good thing as well. I want to use what I've been through to help others in some way. You do make a good point that usually the most artistic people are not understood at all. And you are definitely right about whatever sticks in the long run is what matters... It's hard to remember that its okay to give myself a break and spend an evening not doing much. I think about my life a lot and mortality, and it makes me not want to let a single day go by that I'm not being super productive, but I will crash and burn if I keep doing that.

@DirkSteinkamp - Unfortunately, my jobs don't pay a whole lot and I wish there was a way to get more money. I currently work at home 6 days a week and do not own a car because of this. Since I don't need transportation to work (except to my second job and guitar lessons) I do not have a car right now. My schedule is so packed full with work that I hardly get to go anywhere anyways. It's a low paying job but it would probably take home the same amount if I got a slightly higher paying income and got a car. And yes, its not exactly concrete but its moreso a rough goal. I use and set up goals with monthly savings amounts and time lines of when I will accomplish it by. I have a lot to save up for... cash car, my goals, general savings and other further on down the line things like houses and retirement. However, I barely make anything as it is so it takes A LOT of time to save up. But you do make a good point about maybe stretching it out, could relieve some stress at least! I thought about talking to my main job in the future and seeing if I can go monday-friday like a normal company instead of sunday-friday. My second job purely funds my music endeavors and its not that taxing. It's at a singing at a church for a few hours every sunday morning, but I usually have solos to learn or songs to learn throughout the week so it takes up time as well. I don't love what I do, most of the time I find it boring but I love the fact I can work from home and that they are unconventional. I usually play music all day long or leave the TV in the background to help, it leaves my mind restless though. That name of the language learning you mentioned sounds familiar... I'll have to look into it. I got some pimsleur conversational french CDs at the library and I really liked it. I got some french ipod thing too. It shows you the phrase in french and english in the track name and the audio says it... kind of helps. The library also has a free online language learning software called "Mango" that I played around with one morning. Its hard to tell how effective these things are and if its actually getting me anywhere. Oh nice!! Spanish and Dutch? Completely different languages. What is a success team?

@mango - I appreciate what you said. It made me smile a little. :) Knowing someone out there finds me interesting instead of weird and can identify is a good help.

On another note, I thought I might add in a day of the week that's a free learning evening. I'm getting kind of bored lately and my mind cannot go without stimulation for very long or I get cranky... So I thought maybe one night a week have a "free learning evening" where I can learn about whatever random stuff I want without pressure. If I suddenly feel compelled to read about cells in the body, I can do that. Or if I want to play the guitar, learn a new song, learn french, or just chill out and read a book. Might be a good evening. I feel like I need to schedule my whole life in order to get everything done but if I don't leave room for some spontaneity then I lose my spirit. Sometimes those random quests to learn something random just for the sake of learning, keeps my brain alive.

I've been trying to veg out for the past few days and let all emotional and mental stress melt away so I can see clearly. Tomorrow is my half day so I'm going to try and get out and visit the library at least. Balance is HARD!!! lol

Re: Trying to Find Balance In Isolation?

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2011 4:05 am
by Me and my Hamster
You are interesting (and I like to say "anyway, weird is good^^", that's the positive-thinking line when I feel a bit down about being... well... weird!)

I would like to record my own songs too! I'm currently trying to get a good enough job, but it's a long/mid term process, because I need some more skills and education to manage that. I want my good enough job to be one of my interests or have at least one in my interests in it (languages, multicultural encounters, culture, art.) So I'll do a MA in European studies in a European "headcity" (aka Strasbourg, France.) Hopefully I'll get a job in something with languages and international milieu.
And when I have enough money, I'll record of my stuff the proper way. But I also want to play them live, it's an incredible feeling, being on stage. But the point is, I don't want to do music as my job, but as one of the things I want to do. As for music, I would like to mix everything I like, do experiment, fx do jazz with oriental traditional instruments would be really cool.
And recently, I decided that I wanted to learn Arabic, so I may also get started with that in september. I've already started Italian and German. And when I'm older (when I grow up hahaha!) I would like to go back to physics. But that's for later, I'll see in five years or so where I am and where I stand with my goals and interests... and how I make a living. (Yeah, unfortunately, we do need to make a living hahahaha!)

I don't have any particular advice, I'm trying to find out for myself. For now, my motto is something like "never let down and be patient, you'll get a part of what you want (if not the whole thing)"

If you want to discuss with a French speaker, just contact me... My passport says I'm French!

Re: Trying to Find Balance In Isolation?

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 3:45 pm
by sweetsoulmusic
@Me and My Hamster - That's really awesome! You have quite the range of interests... all the way from music to languages and physics. Have you found a job or market area that combines all that you like to do?

Re: Trying to Find Balance In Isolation?

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 4:01 pm
by sweetsoulmusic
I wanted to say thank you everyone for your suggestions!! I put a lot of them into practice already, with my own little spin on it. It was hard for me but I let go of Kung Fu for now knowing it will always be there when I have time to pick it back up. It was either kung fu or guitar and I chose to stick with guitar, since it has relevancy to the dream for my future. I decided I'm going to take the next 30 days to clear my head and get my priorities straight in life. I ordered a bunch of books that I hope to be helpful towards what I want to do, and I'm hoping to read through those as much as I can and allow everything to sort of fall into place. I'm attempting at one step at a time thinking for now, because any more than that and I get overwhelmed. So instead of thinking about my album and labels and all the rest down the line, I look at it like... Step One: Find a guitarist to play with and do not stop until I do. One step, one thought and one day at at time. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to balance gigs in with both of my jobs and 6 days a week, but I will figure it out when the time comes. I'm an obsessive planner and love to prepare for everything, so I'm trying to reduce that just a little so that I think only about what issue I have in front of me right now.

As far as my interests in actually doing something for organizations, I'm not sure yet. I did start a blog called that was meant to showcase organizations, good acts people did, and so forth but I've put it on the back burner until I can figure out exactly what it is. I did write a charity showcase on CFCA and even got featured on their website. The site looks like crap right now so I'd have to hire someone to make a different layout and its just too much to think about right now. It will become something one day. I bought the domain because I couldn't get it out of my head for 6 months and I felt like it was supposed to be my project one day, even though I have no idea what it is yet. A year ago I was yearning to be involved in philanthropy, and I found a way to satisfy that... and I've been sponsoring two people in Latin America for a little over a year now. I would love to actually be able to DO something but I suppose the timing is not right yet.

With French, I went to the library and got some french language course CDs and burned them onto my iTunes. It's funny because while I work my iTunes will be on shuffle and suddenly I hear a french word and its meaning, its like subconsciously making me learn it! hahaha. I try to pick up a french book or read an online newspaper whenever I can. Tiny little moments where I learn without realizing it, or having to devote so much mental effort.

I feel less isolated lately as I learn to accept who I am and embrace it. I'm an oddball for whom marriage and parenting feels so unnatural for me to the point where it literally feels wrong. Part of my feelings of isolation was in looking at this the wrong way. People are destined for different things, and some people are destined to be permanently single because they have a bigger job to do on earth. It's a much better way to look at it, rather than I'm so different that I'll always be alone. Instead, I'm trying to look at it like "I get to do some really awesome things in my lifetime."

Thanks everyone for your suggestions!!! I hope to keep putting them into action as time goes on and I find my balance.

Re: Trying to Find Balance In Isolation?

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 7:19 pm
by SquarePeg
Wow, I love your voice!

I certainly relate to philanthropy. When you become famous, you'll be able to do so much!

Here's my take on philanthropy: ... opist.html

Re: Trying to Find Balance In Isolation?

PostPosted: Sat May 14, 2011 4:18 am
by Me and my Hamster
@ Sweetsoulmusic:
Unfortunately, I haven't found a job... yet. I'm working on it. I'll do european studies in 2/3 languages in order to find a job in international companies or something that will make we use languages and meet people from a lot of different places. As I was thinking about it, I may have found one of my study areas for a possible master thesis: plurilinguism and the case of Scheleswig-Holstein. There is a Danish minority in northern Germany, and a German speaking minority in southern Denmark. And I would like to study the cultural and linguistic aspect of it. It came to me because I've been there and one of my best friend actually is from the Danish minority. And speaking Danish, I could understand a bit of what a German speaking woman told me...
But will I get a job afterwards? I'll try to anyway! If I can work in a company such as a multicultural organization in Denmark or German, or in France, that'll be OK with me.

As for marriage and parenting... hahaha, welcome to the club!