I can hear the eagles where I live. Sometimes, I look up at the sky and see them soaring above. I do most of my writing work at the dinning room table (my desk is stacked with papers I don’t want to look at). Today was the day…..All week I had the blank document with the only word “Balance” typed on it…today, I would start writing something worth sharing. But as I stared at my document, I heard the eagle calling. I stood up to draw open the curtains and there he was. Magnificent. Huge. Closer than ever before.
I am privileged. Yes. And I wonder if that is what ‘s stopping me. I am part of a culture that feels we are entitled to be happy. And carpe diem has been engraved in our souls. Except, without fully understanding the consequences of that and without respecting the bigger picture. Without understanding that, sometimes, happiness comes with a price.
I am privileged to have the time to think about what balance means to me. In January 2014, I picked up a copy of the “Real Simple” magazine. The title of the issue was, Balance, and I thought, “I could use some of that.” But I didn’t learn anything about IT or how to get IT in the magazine. There is one piece of writing in the magazine, by Jennifer Senior (a contributor to Real Simple and to New York magazine), I cut out and saved on my bulletin board. She writes, “I think life balance is worth striving for, but it’s a pretty high-class problem.” She also writes, “I can’t see how real balance, at least as we fantasize about it, is achievable. I am skeptical about the need for balance anyway.” And I totally agree with her. End of story, right? But, for over a year, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about balance and what it means to me. And why is it so important that I get it?
Everyone thinks I need some. Maybe, I do. Maybe, I already have some….I mean, I do everything….but I’m not happy with everything and most of the time, I feel like I’m juggling too many things as my balance keeps shifting. And then I get lost in the whole Idea of balance and my thoughts return to the beginning as I ask myself again, what is balance?
I recently read a highly energetic blog post by a popular Vancouver mom blogger who I will not name. I am sure she is awesome. Her article was awesome. She wrote about how to have everything with details about how she gets it all done. And the comments to her blog were filled with applause and praise for showing women about how they could really have it all; children, loving husband, and career (multiple careers). Is she balanced? It definitely sounds like she is balanced.
Is balance about getting everything we want, without making any sacrifices? That’s totally unrealistic. Something’s gotta give. So when you look at your life and realize it’s not like Mommy Blogger’s. It’s not because you failed, it’s because you’re living a real complicated life. And that’s okay. And that is Carpe diem; enjoying what you have right now. Living right now. Not for some illusion media is dangling in front of you. Society, time, culture….all of them have a funny way of distorting the true definition of words in such a way that we get caught up in an illusion and we spend our life striving for the impossible.
Balance isn’t something to achieve, it’s something we just do….everyday and some of us better than others. The merriam-webster dictionary defines balance as “the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control.” But what we really want is to be in a position where changing and losing control just isn’t an option and we may define balance as such a state…it’s crazy how we complicate the English language.
I still have the urge to simplify the word Balance and come up with some solution on how I’ll get IT, or do IT. Do you get IT? Do you do IT? Or is IT just a state of being?
After my year (and more) of analysis on the word, Balance, I still believe that it doesn’t mean that we can have everything and be happy. Sorry, Mommy Blogger, but I don’t believe you. And although you are doing a great job attracting readers, I really believe they would benefit not from hearing about how you get it all done….because, really, we all know what we need to do….but they would benefit by reading about how you overcome your struggles. What did you have to give up? And why it’s okay. It’s okay that it didn’t all happen today, because most of us get to wake up tomorrow and try again. How wonderful is that?
Think of balance as your diet. We all need a balanced diet, but we know that we can’t have it all in one sitting. We have to spread our nutrients along an entire day and, maybe, a week. And if we tried to get all our nutrients in a signal meal, we would just fail….it’s not possible. If you wash down your milk (calcium) with a steak (iron), it’s useless in your body. The calcium will interact with iron in such a way that your body will not absorb the iron. So enjoy your steak, but hold off on the milk and cheese until a few hours later. And when you look at the big picture; your diet throughout the week, you’ll realize that, maybe, it was balanced.
So think of the big picture. You may not be able to raise four happy children and have a successful career at the same time, and that’s okay. When you look at the big picture of your life, you’ll realize you can have everything….just not all at once.