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Now for Annie Part 2! If you missed out on Part 1, go back and check it out! For now, check out more about what Annie prioritizes, and her hunger to learn more, try new things and who she’ll probably be when she grows up…

I heavily prioritize sleep. Sleep deprivation is a reliable migraine trigger for me, so that’s a pretty strong motivation to get 7-8 hours regularly. But also… I mean, we all are just better with sufficient sleep. Some people might prioritize food, or exercise, or entertainment, or alone time, or social time, but for me, it’s sleep, hands down. And yes, sometimes that means car naps. More often than I’d like to admit.

I guess I also really value balance in another sense — balance of interests/passions/hobbies/whatever. “Well-roundedness”. It has always been important to me to do a lot of things. A lot of different things. So I tend to jump at a wide variety of things that may cross my path. I do my fair share of couch potato-ing with all the usual “prestige” TV shows (and some that are decidedly “unprestige”), I try to see a lot of theater and live music, I’m always up for a new crafting project (two winters ago I watched every episode of both Buffy and Angel while knitting a collection of scarves and hats), my fiance and I are big gamers (both table top- and video-), and in the last couple years I’ve gotten really into weightlifting (literally the only athletic endeavor I’ve ever enjoyed). Even within my “fields” I try to be open to newness and variety. I wrote my first play last year, and I’m basically the de-facto Athletic Director at my small school, which is just hysterical considering the fact that I’ve never played sports in my life. Literally, never.

But this is just such a hard question, and so dependent on variables. My Work/Life/Balance needs are different than those of a single person, or a stay-at-home parent, or a high-level executive, or a doctor, or a grad student, or a person working 3 part-time minimum wage jobs… and for everything I am successful at, there’s something that I totally suck at (car cleanliness, I’m looking at you). I think part of the balancing act is realizing that nobody can do it perfectly, and that if you want to stay in and play Dragon Age: Inquisition all weekend, it doesn’t make you a bad person. Yoga, book clubs, and kale juice isn’t right for everyone.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I actually do not recall ever having an an answer to the “what do you want to be when you grow up” question. I do remember thinking from an early age that the two most important things a person can do with their life are to be a parent and to be a teacher. (Yeah, I was that kid.)

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
I’m going to be an interesting, fun, caring, passionate, generous, weird, visionary person when I grow up.

I’m going to be Oliver Sacks when I grow up.

(Only half kidding.)

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
I’m sporadically on Twitter @anniepaladino
You can find info about my artistic work at www.anniepaladino.com
And Akropolis Performance Lab is online at www.akropolisperformancelab.com

Now for the second part in our two-part series learning about how Alexa, our double-careerist makes space for work, life and passion. If you want to catch up, read Part 1 here.

How do you feel about your work/life/passion? How do you feel like it will evolve?
I have the best job in the world.  I get paid to backpack 20 miles a day off trail at 10,000ft and catch frogs.  But my work is seasonal, temporary, and without benefits.  Looking forward to a life with more permanence and stability, I am addressing the differences between wants and needs to guide career decisions.  I need a home, a community, daily exercise in the mountains, and time with my amazing husband.  I want (but may need) to think critically and problem solve, to make things with my hands, and to live in a place I love.  I don’t want to feel like I can’t afford avocados, or fresh berries, or a teeth cleaning, or a new exhaust system…

What are some things that sorta hold you back?
I make a lot of excuses to NOT pursue the things I love.  I have a hard time taking risks.

What do you do in your free time to get more passion in your life?
I bake my own bread and crackers and make my own yogurt when I have time.  I run and ski and climb but rarely take ownership of risk in the latter two.  I do yoga on my own but usually call it “active stretching” because I don’t want to buy in too much.  Not much in this world is better than sleeping in with the person you love, enjoying a breakfast of bagels and lox and stove-top espresso, going out for an afternoon hike, ski tour, run, or climb, and finishing off the day with tasty homemade dinner.  Oh, and reading is WAY better than watching Netflix but sometimes TV happens….

When you were little, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
As a kid, I honestly didn’t know what I would be when I grew up. I thought I would figure it out as I went along.  And, now that I am partially grown up, I still don’t know what I will be when I am fully grown up, or if I will EVER fully grow up for that matter.

I will say that as a child,
1) the bottoms of my feet were usually black and tough from running around barefoot outside;
2) I had a sketchbook and enjoyed arts and crafts time;
3) I would conduct week long experiments in the bathtub to create the perfect bath product concoction, and when my mom would invariably knock one of my incubations over while shaving her legs, the experiment would have to start over from scratch and I would not be pleased; and
4) I put myself down for naptime regularly.

So, not much has changed, except that I am worse about the sketchbook and better about the experiments.

Now that you’re grown up, what will you be?
An ecologist-baker-printmaker-mom-homesteader, of course.

How can we find you if we want to learn more?
Rikki Goldenberg has used smoke signals in the past with pretty good results.

Anything else you want to share?
Um, when a page won’t load on Chrome, ever wonder why there is a dinosaur at the top of the message?  Try pressing the spacebar once, and then press it again, and watch that dinosaur…

So there you have it folks! But, one of the last bits of advice Alexa shared may have been my favorite:
It was actually good for me to write these sorts of thoughts down.  I’ve been going back and forth about returning to school for ecology since September, and I just need to do it.  It is time to commit, because committing to something is better than waiting to commit to the “right” thing.  There is no “right” thing at the end of the day.  I do not believe in soul-mates, and I do not believe in a soul-career.  In both cases of mate and career, the chemistry needs to be there, but so does the effort to make things work.  Its about making the choice right, not so much about making the right choice.  Masters (or PhD…..) in ecology, here I come.

Here’s to committing to try new – scary- things! Thanks Alexa!!

If you’re interested in telling me about your own work/life/passion balance creation, shoot me a note at workhappi AT gmail.

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