Tree-alties Part 1: On what my tree looks like recognizing the balance between different areas of life.

I want to spend the next series of posts talking about something I’ve coined as the “Treealities.” I’ve given myself certain creative liberties to illustrate it – and yes they are intentionally crude. I’ll break this into three parts, first illustrating how I categorize different parts of my life, second explaining it’s complexity, and third, touching on a specific topic in my life and recognizing how it relates to these depicted complexities.

I feel like we like to think of our lives as having a very specific balance that follows one of several paths of our choosing. When I look at my life I feel like I’m always trying to balance between three different categories: Sport, Life, and Career.

  • Sport: over the last 8-10 years I’ve made this a big part of my life, first with running and later with triathlon. Always outside and always pursuing athletic things, I don’t see this being something I change now or anytime in the near future as it is an essential part of my sense of self. I have constantly evolving aspirations and goals and working to those goals whether I get there or not gives me a sense of purpose.
  • Life: This may be a broad statement. To put it simply, life goals are anything that has to do with people and sense of belonging. It’s the people I am friends and family with and how I want to impact their lives. It’s how I learn about my own identity in how I interact with people in my life. My goals here are where I picture myself with people in my life right now and into the future. I also want to expand this to a sense of “where I am in life.” Am I content still renting and living with roommates? Am I having meaningful and fulfilling relationships that grow me as a person? Am I making the right impact during my day-to-day life to the people around me? Is what I am doing making me happy?
  • Career: Self-explanatory. Is my current work helping me go in the right long-term career direction? Am I doing everything I can with my current position to create a positive impact to my company, coworkers, and people I serve?

Each of these self-created categories have starting points and end goals along an ever evolving continuum. Each one has it’s own monster to battle to get to where I want to be. See below:

While I think this illustration (sketchpad art created by yours truly) does a fine job showing the world that I have end goals and specific demons to battle to reach each one, I don’t think it properly illustrates the branches along that limb that are meaningful way-points by themselves. Nor does it illustrate the interconnectedness of all 3 categories of life and how each way-point or "branch" can actually have strong effects on other limbs and branches in a person's life.

I'll discuss this interconnectedness on my next post. Stay tuned...