Seek balance. Find your balance. Maintain a healthy balance. Balance your work, family and personal life.
We are surrounded in our culture by slogans and self-help manifestos that are constantly reiterating the importance of achieving BALANCE of some sort or another.
Balance, as defined by Google’s online dictionary is:
“An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.”
“A condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.”
As a working mother, a wife, an artist and ~ just a simple human being ~ I cannot help but feel like a massive failure on a daily basis for rarely experiencing this condition or state of being BALANCED.
Sure, I try to spend some time every day doing some bit of self-care like take a hot bath, do some yoga or go for a nice walk. I do my best to read books that speak to my own, personal interests. I make an effort to give my husband and kids equal amounts of time and energy. I cook good-tasting dinners, keep the house somewhat in order and get the laundry done when I realize I am out of clean underpants. I squeeze in time here and there to work on my current art piece. I attend school events, pack lunches, go to meetings for work, wipe dirty butts. I will even occasionally sit on my own butt and do nothing but stare into space for 5 minutes and focus on my breathing.
So, since I am doing all of this and more, that must mean that I am a well-balanced individual, right?
Then why is it that most days, I feel the exact opposite of being evenly distributed, upright and steady? And, why is it that I never experience a sensation or mental state of having elements in my life be equal and in the correct proportion to one another?
What is balance…really?
To me, finding balance is embracing the realization that we all fall down, we all go through moments and phases of feeling extremely unsteady. Balance is a dance ~ an ever-shifting, mostly unpredictable spiral of fleeting twinkles in time and space. Nothing is truly graspable. All we can do is take each moment for what it offers and… keep moving. Or… don’t.
Attempting to “maintain a balanced life,” in my opinion, is just nonsense. We can plan out every week, every day, every hour of our lives in an effort to create some kind of harmonious experience of this human life. But when it really comes down to it, maintaining an existence in which all aspects are counted, weighed and equally distributed is impossible. And that is okay.
Let’s instead think of this concept of balance as learning to be comfortable with imbalance, accepting that life is mostly a big, jumbled mess and that falling down and feeling out of proportion is just another facet of what it means to be human. And what the reality of parenting presents to us.