A Balancing Act

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A Balancing Act

A Facebook friend, posted that he was celebrating 10 years of running every single day without missing one day. This stunned me. How can a person do this? What about days he was sick or busy or just plain exhausted? What about the days he pulled long hours at work? What about when he travels or goes on a vacation? I’m honestly not sure how he manages the logistics of this feat, but I’m willing to trust (as he appears quite trustworthy) that he’s not pulling my leg.

So, in the face of this roller-coaster of a life that I have (just like everybody else), I ask myself: 1. How do I consistently persist at doing those things I’ve deemed a priority? 2. How do I find the time and space and energy to stick to it? and 3. Is it o.k. to cut myself some slack and to give myself a break from time to time?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve ruthlessly questioned what is most important to me in order to direct my focus. I’ve moved several time sensitive opportunities to the forefront, shelved things that can wait until later, and let go of projects that weren’t really the best use of my time or talent. In addition to a running schedule, I’ve made a list of things that I want to do daily; things that are important to my growth both personally and professionally. I’ve been realistic about the time necessary to complete the tasks and careful to not overextend myself. As long as my day goes as planned with no last minute emergencies or teenage drama, I can stick to my list and do what I’ve planned. The second life changes things up, the second things veer off course, it’s all but over.

This week, my teens were out of school and the husband home after weeks of traveling on business. My daughter and I shopped for a prom dress. I hosted a birthday dinner for my son. I painted my office and reconfigured the furnishing in several rooms in our house, cleaning as I went. Loads of no longer needed items were taken to Goodwill. A trip was planned, plans were laid, and problems were solved. It’s been a busy and productive week doing things that needed to be done and doing things that I really truly wanted to do. Needless to say, my carefully planned workout schedule fell to the wayside along with any work on any project.

Part of me believes that if I was serious, if I really meant it, if I was focused, I’d  be able to spend time on the things I’ve deemed most important every single day. Like my friend, I should be able to hit the pavement daily without fail. I know that I’m strong and focused and can push through pain and heartache and a horrible bout of walking pneumonia, because I’ve done each of these things in the past. I should be able to dedicate at least a few minutes to the handful of projects I hold in the highest esteem and grant myself a few minutes to do those things that keep me centered and healthy.

Part of me believes that I have to listen to my body, nurture my soul, and rest my mind. That I have to put people first and take advantage of last minute opportunities when they present themselves. That knowing when to quit, when to back off, is just as important as when to push forward. That the hours spent traversing the county in search of the perfect prom dress are as important as the hours spent researching an idea. That the hours spent with my husband talking through whatever needs to be talked through is just as important as my run. That the happiness on my son’s face as he is surrounded by people who love him loudly singing happy birthday is as important as the time spent typing on this keyboard.

I believe that for me this will always be somewhat of a precarious balancing act. I believe that as I continue to ruthlessly cut the physical clutter in my life and mental clutter in my mind, I will be able to par down even more and keep my focus on what is most important.  My husband says that I just have to keep trying different things until I figure out what works. I know he’s right. I can’t stop trying.

At the end of my life, I just want to be able to look back and say I loved hard, I lived full, and I did the things that I was put here  to do. I don’t want to look back at unfulfilled dreams and unloved people. I don’t want regrets.

3 Comments

  1. “My husband says that I just have to keep trying different things until I figure out what works.”

    Is this referring to your professional life?

    • It’s the combination of personal, family, and professional. I’m good at focusing on one area but struggle to balance it all at the same time. I know that from time to time I have to focus more on one area, but feel that day in and day out I should be able to maintain some level of equilibrium.

  2. **THIS** Is the story of my life TOO!! I have a very well laid out, well-intentioned schedule that would enable me to spend time with God, to exercise, and to write daily. HA! It hardly seems to work in practice! Like you, my days are OFTEN driven by the needs of my husband, children, or aging parents’ needs. Those things are, perhaps, even more important than my writing and/or daily exercise. I waiver with accepting my fate-driven days versus the deep desire to do those things I perceive as important enough to warrant being on a daily plan. It is ALL a balancing act. I want to live well too.. My goal has been a “No Regrets” life.. I have done all I know to do for my children (and will continue to do so), and try to remain focused on what is most important.. PEOPLE, while still holding onto my dreams of accomplishing personal goals. See you SOON!

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