I often find myself in this personal battle, with roller derby and my day to day life. Trying to make the two con-inside without loosing sight of either one. Getting the right balance between spending enough time on each without running myself into the ground.
I recently completely overhauled my life, moving cities, changing career, moving derby leagues trying to do stuff to build a career rather than the dead end job that I had found myself in. But because of this I have barely had time to come up for air since the end of May, I have quite literally not stopped.
Most would probably never have even considered doing what I have done, if I told you the ins and outs and logistics you would probably think I was clinically insane (perhaps I am). But it had got to a point that I had to make a drastic change. The problem was that because there were so many changes all at once, I have kind of found myself swept up and completely lost in it all. I occasionally feel a bit like I have absolutely no control over any aspect of my life now. I should probably be a nervous wreck, never quite sure what’s coming next, but I actually feel pretty calm in it all.
Finding the balance between, which gets the most attention. Life and career or derby career?
Life and career
So I changed my job, I trained to become a personal trainer and in six weeks my training was complete and I was thrown head first into a new job. Not just a new job, a new job in a new city and not just any city, London. Not just London but Oxford Street, right in the centre of London. I went from working in a pretty boring mundane job in a fairly quite city (for its size) to the crazy manic streets of London. Not just that but I was also to come to terms with being self employed, having never been the best a dealing with money I now have to manage my own earnings. On top of that my boyfriend was not moving with me straight away, he was doing the sensible thing of staying in his job until he had another and would join me once it had worked or failed and I fled back with my tail between my legs.
Adjacent to this I moved roller derby league, anyone who doesn’t know our sport would not understand how this would effect anything. But to us, we’re in deep. This sport becomes a part of you, it’s something that defines me now. When asked what I do, it’s difficult to choose which to respond with, PT or play Roller Derby and I can’t count how many times I have signed of the end of a works email Rogue rather than Jess. I guess it’s safe to say that, because it was LRG that I was moving to it was a bit of a bigger deal than any other league. Now before you tut or hiss at me and think that I am disregarding the rest of the uk roller derby scene, know that I am not! But what I mean is that (and I am sure many of you feel the same), it is sort of like joining the big kids playground at school. You want to be there but you not fully convinced you can manage to keep up with them. Also because of the time I was joining them, during the lead up to eastern regionals! When I joined I really didnt expect to make that roster. Of course I hoped it, who wouldn’t? Being a skater who always strives to be the best I can, in that league of course I wanted to make it. I am competitive naturally, I think it’s been ingrained in me from such a young age to strive to be the best that there’s no way I could not try to make that team. But anyway back on track. The whole ordeal of joing the league then making the roster and having to adapt so quickly to a new group of skaters, team mates, friends and all at such an important time. Had me swept up in another whirl wind.
So where does someone in this crazy mass of new, find the balance?
Some days the enphasis is on making practice, attendance points. Other days it’s being at work for a client or because I am on shift and so have to be in the gym. And of course on top of all that theres the constant worry of money. That irritating constraint that controls us and our lives even if we don’t want it to. Practice doesn’t earn me any money, work does. But if I don’t get to practice I will go stir crazy and no one will want me as their personal trainer because I’ll be this stressed out ball of mess.
So there you have it, my life in all it’s manic glory for the past 5 months. What I have come to realise is that the balance comes from realising that without one the other wouldn’t work. If I don’t go to derby practice and see team mates and improve at this skill that I love, then I am generally unhappy and find I have no focus and for me to live to work is not my lifes ethos. But if I don’t focus on work, how am I suppose to afford all these great experiences that Roller Derby offers me. I guess for me my personal well being and happiness is paramount to my success in my work. I have to be the irritatingly positive person who drives others to succeed and so in order for me to be that I have to be happy and succeeding myself. And the way I do that is through my hobby, roller derby.
Of course this is all easy to say, but what if training has stopped making you feel happy? Your not feeling like a success at practice, more like a failure?? Well then your balance is wrong and you need to address why you are feeling that negative way. Because that negative is simply a state of mind and it’s only you who controls your state of mind. So therefore you need to stop focussing on the negative and start looking for the good. Get your balance back, if you had a bad day at work, then make sure you have a great practice. Use your derby to offset your work and vice versa.
In which case I sort of think the balance is pulling the two together a bit more. I have also started trying to find a way that they can feed into each other more and using my career to find ways to better my derby. Ok I do have that a bit easier than most, I work in a gym so coming up with new ways to get fit for derby is really just me training in a gym not a bad job really. But it helps to keep focussing on both and the more I experiment the more interesting I can make my sessions with my clients and the better my business becomes.
So that’s my balance, and although my life is pretty crazy and manic I can say I have it in the balance. For now!