The “I” in Life is in the Middle: 3 Tips to Handle the Crazy Life of a Creative

Jun 8 2017

by Angie Avard Turner

The Southern Coterie blog: "The 'I' in Life is in the Middle: 3 Tips to Handle the Crazy Life of a Creative" by Angie Avard Turner (photo: Kathryn McCrary for The Southern C)
Feel like this is the current speed of your life? (photo: Kathryn McCrary for the 2017 Southern C Summit)

Life….we are all right in the middle of it.  In the thick of it, completely. Literally, the “I,” as in me, is right in the middle of LIFE.  We all are.  I have been considering this thought off and on over the last few weeks.  As my children wrap up school, as I move through birthdays, parties, holidays, regular days and all the rest.  Often when we are in the middle we wish to be on the other side, and when we are on the other side we wish to be right in the thick of things. This month I am writing about something on topic for creative entrepreneurs but not a topic about law.  I just thought I would share from my perspective 3 tips that help me handle it all.  I don’t know about you, but I have my good days; I have my great days; I have my just regular run-of-the-mill days. And then I have THOSE days where I am counting down for the day to end.  Maybe none of this resonates with anyone else, but I thought since it happens to me it might be happening to all of you other creatives and creative professionals.

[bctt tweet=”Often when we are in the middle we wish to be on the other side, and when we are on the other side we wish to be right in the thick of things.” username=”thesouthernc”]

Right now my circus consists of operating a boutique law practice, running a creative business, going to school part time for my Masters in Law (LLM) in Intellectual Property, helping my husband with his interior design business, helping my older daughter with her jewelry design business, being a wife, mothering 3 children (ages 14-4) and then squeezing in time for social and church activities.  It’s a little nuts around here most of the time.

So how am I coping? Well, I am gonna break a cardinal rule that was laid out before me when I started law school.  That rule is never admit that you don’t know everything and never admit that you don’t have your act together.  To the first, I will admit I definitely don’t know everything, and to the second, I don’t always have my act together.  Okay, there I did it.  That has been something that has always been a burden for me.  Because of the profession I am in, I have always gotten feedback that “oh, you always have your act together; nothing is ever out of place.” and so on.  I promise you if you come to my house around 5:30-6:00 in the evening, I will out-crazy your house just about any day of the week!  LOL!  Even admitting it here feels a bit strange, but it’s freeing. How so you may ask?

Embrace the Crazy

In law school my parents would ask, “How’s class?” At the beginning, when I was still fresh, excited to begin a new term, anticipatory even, I would respond, “Good,” with a fair amount of enthusiasm.  Six or seven weeks would pass and they might ask again, “How’s school?” At that point my answer was always, “I’m too far in to back out, and too far along to quit; I’m in the middle.”  Isn’t that SO life though? I’m forty-three—too far in to back out and too far along to quit!  So instead of wishing I was done or at the beginning or anywhere rather than the middle I try, with a strong, strong emphasis on try, to do something a little different.  Instead of focusing on attempting to determine that elusive formula to balance, I embrace the crazy.  That’s right. I do the completely counterintuitive, why-would-she-say-that, sounds ridiculous thing.  I look for at least one outstanding quality of at least every experience that I am in the middle of and I embrace it, love it, find the pure joy in it—no matter what.  Instead of focusing on trying, I focus on doing.  I know that sounds clichéd, and I am sure that is probably not my original thought, but it’s true.

Give Yourself a Pass

For those of you who are over 25, have you ever looked at picture of yourself and said, I didn’t look as freaky as I thought I did?  Or have read something you wrote a year or two after it was written?  I bet it was better than you thought it was.  We tend to be our own worst critics.  Cut yourself some slack.  So you had a KitKat at 4 o’clock. Give yourself a pass.  So you didn’t get every toy put back or your Instagram feed doesn’t have that perfect quilt look, yet.  So what?  Get up and keep going.  We get so caught up in perfection must be our natural state of being. It’s not, and it never will be.  So stop striving {insert trying} for perfection and begin doing your best.  Don’t wait for twenty years from now and look back at what you did as a creative only to say wow, I should’ve cut myself some slack, I was doing okay then.

Know Your Tribe

Remember that saying “No man is an island?” It is true with everything.  We were born to be in community, do life, and generally, hopefully, love others. However, there is a group of folks who are your people.  They are the ones who are your encouragement, your support, and your safety net.  Identify those folks; be that for someone else.  Often folks  I meet that know some of what I have going on will say, “I just don’t know how you do it all.”  Well the simple answer is, we don’t. I have help.  My husband and I are what I like to call cross trained.  At any given time, one of us can cook, take kids from point A to point B, or work professionally.  Whatever we need to do on that given day is what we do.  We have a great group of friends and neighbors.  And family, we have great parents and in-laws who have helped so much over the years. Know your tribe professionally as well. Those folks are the ones who show up and perform and make your job a little easier.

Slowly, I am learning in the middle, the thick of it all, is a perfect place to be.  Here’s to seeing yourself and celebrating you in the middle of lIfe!

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Angie Avard Turner View More Blog Posts from this Author

Angie Avard Turner is an attorney who exclusively represents clients in the creative arts industries including retailers, wholesalers, artists, photographers, event planners, bloggers, and other creative service providers.  She is licensed to practice law in the state of Georgia, but she is able to handle copyright and trademark issues nationally.  For more information regarding her practice, visit www.angieavardturnerlaw.com­­­. Angie is also the owner and creative director behind Hype Strype, a fine stationery company that caters to those who love bright colors and patterns. 

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