The focus of An Intense Life this month is “Nurturing Gifted Kids’ Passions.” Well, if I wrote about that, I’d just say “allow all the tech into the house and shut the door,” and I’ve already covered that this month. Easy peasy with my boys’ passions. Tech and programming and hacking and boom, done. But me? I’m a different story.

Growing up I did a little bit of this, a little bit of that. Always played in band, but dabbled a little in basketball and photography and swing choir in middle school, softball and a year of theater in high school. College and grad school I was too focused on survival to do much more than study and practice. But once out of grad school? The dam gates burst. Suddenly I had more brain space and time to investigate anything that interested me, and investigate I did. And so, for the last 17 years, I’ve struggled to balance my passions. There is just so much that interests me, so much I want to do, that I often end up frozen, paralysis by analysis.

I’ve at least managed to whittle my main passions down to two. Flute/teaching and writing/gifted advocacy. And while it may look like four different areas there, nah, it’s really two. I teach because I play and I play to be a better teacher. I write, not nearly as much as I’d like, or on all the things I want to write, but it has led to me doing more gifted advocacy. They both take up a significant amount of time and energy, but I can’t give either one up.

There was a time when I closed my flute case and didn’t open it for 18 months. It could have been stolen out from under my nose and I wouldn’t have known. And at the time, I’m not sure I would have cared. I was burned out, and in retrospect I really did need that time away from it. But now I can’t imagine my life without playing and teaching. I love it. Teaching inspires and entertains me, and playing allows me to be the dramatic extrovert I’m not in my day to day life.

I fell into writing in 2006, when I started a blog on a whim. Thankfully I’ve gotten better over the years, with one book published and another in progress. I’ve thought about giving it up, walking away from the blogging and the gifted advocacy, but I can’t. When I get into a groove, writing is satisfying to the point of ethereal bliss. And while it’s tough sometimes, I love talking to parents of G2e kids.

So my two big passions are a balancing act. Both take a lot of time, energy, and focus. On any given day it’s one or the other. And on Tuesday nights, it’s flute, because I have rehearsal at the same time as the weekly #gtchat, and I don’t miss rehearsal unless I’m puking in a bucket. (No, seriously, in five years I’ve only missed two rehearsals, both because of “please shoot me I’m so sick” illness). I hate it when my passions collide, but it happens.

What this has all shown me is that it’s ok that my boys have only one passion right now, that it’s more than likely they’ll discover a whole world of interests when they’re older, and that I’m modeling the balancing act they’ll need as adults.

Poor kids; guess I’d better improve my balancing act.

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