Balance. This the real “b-word” in my world. It is like this thing I keep chasing and as soon as I think I have it, it’s gone again. I have had real issues with the “b-word” which, those of you that have been following us from the beginning, know from my post about quitting my job.
What if balance isn’t really a thing I can achieve? Does any woman really have it? Maybe in the social media world it looks like it, but we know the facade social media can create.
The commiserating I do on a regular basis with friends makes me feel like we all strive for this – thing – and haven’t achieved it.
The pursuit of balance in my world has taken me in all directions – from medication for anxiety, to meditation practice (which I suck at). You name it, I have tried it: counseling, dramatic life changes (again, the quitting my job thing), exercise, binge TV watching, and daily counsel from close friends. Despite my best (and some of my worst) efforts, I still haven’t found that thing called BALANCE.
Does my husband have balance? You know, he very well might but he sure doesn’t think about it, strive for it, discuss it or lose sleep over it. So, is the pursuit of balance an issue we, as women, have labeled as the thing to aim for while simultaneously setting it up so that it’s impossible to achieve? Sometimes I think we do make life harder for ourselves than we need to.
What would balance feel like if I truly achieved it? Could it be that I have it already and it’s just not all that it’s cracked up to be? Wouldn’t that be ironic…and I think it can’t be true given the amount of chocolate eating I do as pure stress-relief.
Like so many things that get hard, sometimes my way to cope is to decide I really don’t need something. Balance, who needs it? Lame, huh? As embarrassing as it is to admit that, I am guessing a lot of people cope this way. That lack of resiliency to achieve the “b-word” has got me thinking that maybe I need to redefine what I am really striving for.
In my mind if I were “balanced” each day would be enjoyable, not stressful, and a mix of fun and work. Duh, Erin. This is totally unrealistic! So, what if true balance is more about working hard and taking breaks to refuel every once in awhile?
For now, I am somewhat satisfied with the idea that I have to carve out time to do things that “fill me up.” I also am less discouraged that each day won’t have the “b-word” because life is filled with things that drain us! That’s reality.
A wise friend recently had me articulate the things that “drain me” and the things that “fill me up.” Literally. She made me write them down. Like, on paper… for the whole world to see.
Time with family and friends, chocolate, exercise, a healthy meal, watching mindless TV, being outdoors, a great book and beer made my “what fills me up” list. Conversely, deadlines, laundry, dirty toilets, clutter, having to make a meal in a hurry, bills, confrontation, fighting children and much more made my list of draining, and frankly, life-sucking things.
“Control” landed on both lists but, that’s a post for another time.
In my tireless pursuit of the “b-word,” I feel like just articulating what fills me up and what drains me made the idea of balance tangible. Life happens and we all have responsibilities which means most days will have more that drains us than we would like. My new plan is to make sure that every few days I experience an activity that truly fills me. Who knows, if I try this I may be closer to accomplishing this idealistic notion of balance.
Who am I kidding, I still think balance is B.S.