Staying, focused and balanced is important

There are certain things in life that become acceptable as time goes on. They might not be set in stone or written in a rulebook — and sometimes they don’t have to be.

You come to terms with them because you feel like you can’t change the circumstances or situation. It could be as simple as that — or something else might be going on that only you can see.

My household is always busy with family members coming, going and following their own schedules. It feels like everyone is headed in different directions while trying to meet somewhere in the middle. More often than not, I’m downstairs in my first-floor bedroom, sitting at my computer trying to meet my own goals — or at least get a little closer to a finish line than I was the day before.

I think I’m by myself on my own island sometimes — and that’s OK. It helps me focus, but it’s never completely quiet with our three dogs and two cats around. The dogs are always on my bed or laying on my floor taking naps waiting for someone to come home, while the cats attempt to steal food from the kitchen — and usually succeed in their mission.

This is everyday life for my family from a collective standpoint. It has become “normal”, but I still have the feeling of knowing my family is either at work, running errands or doing whatever they want to do. I’ve learned to embrace the quiet moments because I can fully immerse myself into my own world.

I realize that my family has things to do, but I’m also respectfully mindful of my responsibilities as well. It’s just hard for me to balance everyone’s definition of independence with my own. It’s also tricky because their jobs are no less important than mine. Granted, my family has a lot more things on their minds than I do at a given time.

I’m grateful to be able to devote all my attention to carefully crafting the words that I put on a page while working with distractions. It isn’t a skill that I necessarily want to have, but I keep it close to my heart. I look at it as a gift that comes with my ability to write. At the same time, however, my family’s definitions of “work” are very different too. That’s partly why I don’t try to harp on negativity.

I’ve accepted the fact that I’m different than everyone else in every possible way. I try to embrace it rather than fight it. Many of the things I do end up becoming daily exercise physically and mentally — particularly when I’m on my computer. It might look like I’m wasting time, but I’m actually keeping myself balanced and focused while doing what I need to do.

I never thought about it in this manner until I got older. Now that I am older, however, I see that it’s just as much about having a way to stay focused and balanced as it is about my creative process. There are a lot of other things that I’ve come to accept, but these are a few that are most important to me. They’re also the ones that have shaped who I am.

It’s not easy to separate yourself from the crowd and be comfortable. It’s a process, as many things in life are. Everyone has their own way of doing things. It’s whatever works for you. You just might discover something beautiful if you’re willing to see it through to the end.

Erin Kelly, 34, was born with cerebral palsy in Korea, and lives in Altoona. In addition to this column, she also writes for online publications The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, Upworthy, and Real Talk Magazine. Email her at WriterWheels28@gmail.com.


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