Busy Fun Is Still Fun

I am striving for balance in my life – emotional, physical and mental. I’ve always been a high energy, productive person. Sitting still does not come naturally to me. Getting out of balance sneaks up on me. And sometimes I have difficulty shifting back to balanced activity as though I get used to too much activity. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to slow down to relax, and then recently I read something that helped me to see myself in a different light.

“People with Too Much Activity (TMA) will probably never embrace the lie-in-the-hammock version of time off. For them, balance is usually better found in busy activity, as long as doing the activity is not a way to avoid anxiety but a way to use some energy in a fun way. Whether it is a day of gardening, a 40-mile bike ride, or hitting every garage sale in town on a Saturday morning, high-energy people usually want their fun time to be busy, not leisurely. Discharging energy is good for TMA people . . . That said, the person with TMA needs to distinguish between the pleasure of accomplishment and pleasure just for the sake of pleasure. The act of doing the activity – not just accomplishing it – should be pleasurable.” –Margaret Wehrenberg, The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques

More than anything I want to nurture my creativity, to protect this passion I feel for photography, and to see where it might lead. But this won’t happen if I burn myself out. I take pictures every day, write blog posts and schedule them for weeks out, and seek ways to learn and challenge myself. And these are all worthwhile activities – in good measure.

But being a prolific photographer isn’t the same as being a creative one.   

Paying careful attention to what feels like fun, I’ve discovered that I really do love the act of taking pictures. It feels like a walking meditation. Where I fall down and begin to feel that need to finish and complete and accomplish is when it comes to the organization, editing and processing of the pictures. I nearly always process the pictures on the day they were taken. I want to rate, sort, and process the images right away so I can get it over with. And this is where my obsessive nature takes over.

Recently I’ve discovered a marvelous work around for managing my anxiety over “keeping up” with image processing.

Film photography. I've been taking an online course from Mastin Labs, The easiest ‘Learn to Shoot Film’ course in the world.

While I will certainly continue my digital work, adding a few rolls of film into the mix, slows me down and helps me learn to direct my focus and attention. Busy fun is still fun.