I hate it when I have to stop writing. It’s 10am and life, responsibility, and duty call. If I don’t get going now, I’ll be running late and end up stressed the rest of the day. Or worse, I’ll have to shift some things to the next day and then that day will be overloaded. No one is holding me accountable but me. I’m the adult here. Adulting sucks!
Some things can’t be shifted. Like taking care of myself… getting to bed on time, choosing foods with some degree of nutritional value, exercising, brushing my teeth.... Choosing the toothbrush over writing one more line. I must choose the lesser of the evils and taking a break from writing until tomorrow is definitely less evil compared to tooth decay and gum disease. This blog post today is my little tantrum before being sent to bed so to speak. I refuse to go quietly!
But seriously, it’s hard to stop and shift gears when we’re on a roll, having a good time with friends, or coming back from vacation. My schedule is jampacked every day – equivalent to two-full time jobs. I have to schedule time for breaks. Sometimes it feels ridiculous, and I am working to change it. There is an end point, six months. I am down to one research project commitment before I finally have some permanent breathing room. Compared to what it used to be this is actually an improvement. At the moment it is a bit of a Titanic turn-around so I’m trying to be patient with myself while I work out my plan. Unfortunately, I’m having to ask for patience from friends and family too. Free time has become a lottery between doing what I love to do, self-care, family obligations, and friends. While they sometimes find a cosmic match, it’s rare. Equal distribution leaves about one day per month for friends or extended family. It’s just not enough and objectively it definitely looks like I’m out of balance but as with everything it can be about perspective.
Doing what we love is only one part of the deal in life. While we strive for “balance” we fail to realize that it means doing some hard stuff that doesn’t feel so good, even going against our own will. To follow integrity, those commitments to ourselves or others. We like to think of balance as an outcome, a place of “good feels”, in reality, it is a process of doing what we must do and not doing too much of one thing so that we miss the bigger picture. If we’re totally honest with ourselves our mind thinks of “balance” as synonymous with “easy”. Unfortunately, its lying to us. That’s just mental hype. We only get dessert if we eat our vegetables i.e., put in the hard work by doing what is right in a hierarchy of adult human responsibility. Self, others, society…
As for me, I refuse to kick myself and feel worse. So, I will put down my proverbial pen and look forward to tomorrow 6am-ish when I can once again escape into my world of ideas and expression. That time when I get to have my say in the world for later show and tell. In the meantime, I will find things to enjoy along the way either because I got them out of the way or by recognizing their value as stepping stones to the next chapter. I will steady myself just for today. Not strive for perfection but do my best with what today has to offer; to keep myself from the pit and try to make sure the world doesn’t run me over. Put one foot in front of the other. Well, you get the point…
If you’re feeling out of balance and think it is some far-off place that requires organization, prioritization, life-work balance, or any other hype or therapy, why not remind yourself to focus on the highlights and dismiss the low blows, just for today. Don’t worry about all the big stuff that you want to see happen or the leftovers from yesterday. Balance isn’t some perfect happy place you arrive at if you follow certain formulas, it’s available today in what you think, do, and feel: your perspective. It’s what you decide to do with the time you have now. Where is your mind spending time? Often it comes down to refocusing by two questions:
What must absolutely be done, today?
What can you do that you enjoy, today?