How Much Time is Enough?

My Mother died two months ago at the age of 89, and this has put me in something of a reflective mood. Her life was a long one especially for someone who was supposed to die the night she was born. At age 9, before the era of antibiotics, she almost succumbed to bacterial pneumonia. I wonder if these early experiences gave her a radically different view of the world from that of her three children. We are all in our own way hard chargers. Mother did a lot with her life, but she never agonized over success or achievement. She was extremely bright, but never particularly cared to use it or show it off to the world. She excelled intellectually when she needed to for survival or when she played cutthroat Scrabble. The rest of the time she was content to sit back and let other people garner the awards for being smart. Being constantly busy was not a priority for her.

She had many stories to tell about my childhood and those of my sister and brother. The one thing that she always said about me, that stands out the most, is that I was born busy. My brother and sister always wanted to be entertained as small children. I was the one who always had more to do than I could get done in a day. Even as a toddler, I never ran out of new things to try. She could give me some cardboard boxes and a sheet, and I'd entertain myself all day. A friend of mine once said that I had "such a curiosity" about the world. It's becoming clear to me after reading the Dreamstime blogs and message boards that this is a common affliction among creative people.

How do we feel like we're making progress or even getting a little caught up? This week alone, I need to post more images, design more illustrations, work on my own website, update two types of design software and learn how to use them, back up my files, and de-frag my harddrive. Let's don't even go to running a house, spending time with a spouse, 3 cats, and 2 dogs, calling my daughter, calling my friends, and getting some exercise. The list goes on and on.

It seems that we're destined to never get caught up. I'm going to hate it when it's my turn to die. It frustrates me that I may never know how it's all going to turn out. Will someone who comes after me take my ideas to a new level, and I won't get to see the results? Plus, there will always be one more shot to take and one more fractal to design. I wonder where all of this creative energy goes when it's no longer in our bodies? Right now, I'm feeling pressured for time and more than a little stupid. We humans know so little about the universe. Let's hope that we go to a place where we can continue to focus our creativity on discovering new and unique ways to express this drive to make things. Whatever our next life is, we probably won't get caught up there either.

Pat Ballard

Photo credits: Patricia L. Ballard.

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June 19, 2008


Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, you're right, of course. Balance is the key, but the drive to create often over comes balance. Mothers and daughters have a special sort of bond. Close and complicated at the same time.

Thanks again.

June 19, 2008


I think we all understand and most can relate what you have stated. I was just thinking the other day about this.. If I die, how will I create?
I will have my own room and computer where ever I go.
I am sorry about your mom.. as my mom passed away a couple of years ago.. she never saw the man I married. But I know she was there looking down below.. everyday she encourages me and tells me you need to take a break and just breathe in the world. Balance.. your mom is telling you to balance..

June 19, 2008


Thanks so much for your kind words.


June 19, 2008


Very reflective indeed. Your creations are wonderful and your blogs so well written. I wish you peace and comfort in the loss of your Mom. Look up a literary work called "The Desiderata". I often read it when I am feeling pressured and a bit overwhelmed, you may find some comfort in the words. Especially, the line that says, "Do not distress yourself with dark imaginings, many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness." Good luck to you, and there will "ALWAYS" be one more shot to take. Have a great day.

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