BALANCE is difficult to achieve.
Someone with a great deal of patience placed these rocks here at a park near Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park. These rocks are all different shapes, they aren’t meant to fit together. But with persistence and patience, this person was able to find rocks that would fit together, that could withstand the ocean breeze and subtle vibration from the footsteps of people walking by.
I’ve struggled to find balance in my life. I’ve always wanted to do more than I can: I want to exercise, I want to take on another project at work, I wanted to take another course at university. Time and time again I’ve tried to balance between my many varied commitments Every single time I’ve come out the other end feeling burned out and exhausted, promising myself to do something different the next time. But I never listened to that voice, that voice of reason inside my mind. That voice would have spared me from my pain, if only I had listened to it.
This time around, having experienced the pain of burnout in a visceral way. I chose to do something different in this new year. I asked my computer graphics professor, who is an accomplished researcher and widely-successful entrepreneur (i.e. a role model for me), if I could balance two very large commitments, specifically in pursuing a Ph.D. and running a startup. He told that it’s really not possible, that I should choose a “big thing” and a “small thing” and orient my working time around that. It was such a helpful way to think about my commitments and provided a sense of balance I could never find before. It’s quite amazing how just a few words can have such a strong impact on the way we think. With this new found inner peace, I’ve been able to develop a genuine gaiety in my spirit, a hearty laugh that can never be quelled. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
I took this photo on a new camera I bought a few months ago. I was (re-)discovering the city I grew up in, Seattle, as if it was my first time, now with two of my closest friends from college. It’s in spending time with friends where I find balance from my rigorous work life, they’re a safe harbor from the turbulent, uncertain winds of entrepreneurship and research.
I’ll never forget the pain I went through until I worked on filling all parts of my life with something to look forward. I’m glad, and grateful, that I was able to regain my balance. I hope you all find it too.
© Pramod Kotipalli 2021
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