Submitted by Delaine Moore
We hear about it all the time – this thing called “balance.” We’re told it’s something we need and should strive for. And if we’d just get our acts together, we’d acheive it too.
But you know what I’ve never understood? How it is measured. Do all balancing components, i.e. work vs. play, have to happen every day? Can they divide the week in half? Or can a full month of work be balanced with one day of play?
I look at my married girlfriends who don’t have kids. And I think WOW – now THEY have balance. They work passionately at their jobs. They devote most of their spare time to their partners. And they always have that ‘extra time’ to exercise, attend special events, and steal away on exotic trips once or twice a year.
My married girlfriends WITH kids seem to struggle with it more. Doesn’t matter if they’re in the workforce or stay at home with kids. Schedules are constantly chased, husband/wife time is harder to carve out, individual ‘me-time’ is usually last on the priority list (especially for the moms). The ‘balance scale’ seems to teeter totter all over the place, oftentimes to the point where the mom gets overwhelmed and jumps off for awhile. But inevitably she gets back on, and the teetering continues with bouts of homeostasis.
And then there’s me: someone who doesn’t know how to differentiate work from play. Reason being, I love being at home full-time with my kids AND building my new career as an author.
Still, according to the ‘rules’, I’m off-balance. I can’t remember the last time I read a novel or watched TV. I don’t make near enough time to go to the gym (though I do run laps in the field across the street). Meditation I do for maybe five minutes/day. I only sleep about six hours per night. I don’t spend enough time with my girlfriends. And as for a dating life, well… as my best friend pointed out last weekend, it’s non-existent. The GOOD thing however, and my best friend would agree with me on this, is that I now have a friend with benefits to take care of the sex part. J.
I see why we need to have a concept like balance around. It IS a healthy reminder to check in and measure our overall happiness quotient. But we have to be careful not to feel guilty or judge ourselves harshly when it’s off kilter. After all, life is a constant ebb and flow, surprises happen, and sometimes life hits us in the head.
So instead of measuring my sense of balance against some scale that other people created, I think I’m going to simplify it: Regardless of how much I’ve worked, played, dated, had sex, seen friends etc on any given day, I’ll measure balance by how often I’ve felt my smile. And in that respect, I think I’m ‘almost’ there.