Monday, February 28, 2011

teeth and work and balance

Last Thursday I had a tooth pulled. I've been having some other teeth issues related to teeth grinding and a misaligned bite that require me to wear a mouth guard during the day for 4-6 months. I've already had a mouth guard to wear at night since college for the aforementioned teeth grinding and TMJ. (I have bad teeth in general--lots of cavities. I think it's genetic.)

Anyway, long story short, the oral surgeon said to me before the surgery, "I guess it goes without saying that you have a stressful job!"

I paused. Because the truth is, my job IS stressful. Or, at least, I get stressed by my job. Everyone in my company gets stressed out. My first assistant would grind through mouth guard after mouth guard. But I laughed and said, "Well, yeah, but it doesn't sound like it would be stressful. I'm a children's book editor."

I realized how ridiculous that sounded.

I remembered this post from about five years ago--"It's not brain surgery." Anyway, I think I take myself too seriously sometimes. I need to remind myself to keep things in perspective.

Getting a random comment such as the one from Anonymous (of course) on my post last week didn't help any. Because the comment was so ridiculous, I have to assume that it was a joke, or at least something written, for whatever reason, to make me angry. It DID make me laugh, and it DID make me a little angry. But anyway. Being a children's book editor is my job. Not my life. I value the work I do, and I dedicate way more than normal working hours to it, but I'm not a robot. I have to remember that balance in my life is important. It's important in everyone's life. Whether we ARE brain surgeons, or authors, or illustrators, or editors, designers, engineers, or teachers. We should all strive for excellence, but we need to also strive for balance. Yes, there's always something more we can do, but without balance, we'd be unstable, without balance, we burn out. With balance, we can do better jobs, and live better lives.

So, in honor of balance, let me share these quotations, all from the reliable source called the internet:

"What I dream of is an art of balance." ~ Henri Matisse

"Happiness is equilibrium. Shift your weight. Equilibrium is pragmatic. You have to get everything into proportion. You compensate, rebalance yourself so that you maintain your angle to your world. When the world shifts, you shift." ~ Tom Stoppard

"People with great gifts are easy to find, but symmetrical and balanced ones never." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Living in balance and purity is the highest good for you and the earth." ~ Deepak Chopra

"Balance is the perfect state of still water. Let that be our model. It remains quiet within and is not disturbed on the surface." ~ Confucius 


yamster said...

I thought that Anonymous comment was a joke, too. I mean, if it was serious, then what was Anonymous doing even reading this blog? Isn't he/she contributing to the so-called "waste of time" he/she excoriates?

But yes, balance is good in all things. :)

Libby Koponen said...

Alvina! You don't take yourself too seriously! I think any author would agree that editors ought to take their jobs seriously, but you can take a job seriously (who wants an editor who doesn't care??) without being obsessed by it....or rather, take it seriously and still have balance.

I don't think that comment was a joke. I think it was written by a frustrated author or wannabe-- remember that rant on Amazon? The author who wouldn't let it go, there were something like 14 comments to the person who had criticized her book, increasingly hysterical in tone?

It's easy to become very crazy in this business. I'm sure I would be without the BRGs & other friends' voices of sanity and balance!

These quotes are good reminders, too.



Anna Alter said...

Great post Alvina, cheers to balance!

Amanda said...

Yes to balance! May you (and all of the rest of us) find it. Thanks for sharing the quotes.

Julie Hedlund said...

The Ralph Waldo Emerson quote rings so true to me.

Too often people assume that if a job is enjoyable it means it's not stressful. False! In fact, such jobs can be more stressful because of how much you care.

Good for you for being conscious of the need to keep equilibrium in your life.