I don’t know who came up with it or where this originated from but I believe leading a “balanced life” is some unattainable piece of crap being fed to us by opportunists who are making a fortune off of our gullibility. Seminars, book sales, courses… as we buy into this myth we are depriving ourselves of living a real and honest life.
There is no such thing as a balanced life. You can’t have it all. Sorry if this disappoints you. I’m just being realistic. However, I think I can offer some insights, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the “imbalances” in your life.
First of all, remember that you are human. You can’t do it all. No one can do it all. Once you embrace this as a reality, rather than a shortcoming, your journey will become that much easier.
Secondly, it is important to recognize that certain aspects of your life can be calm at some moments and demanding in others. For example, how can we live a “balanced” life when an important project at work is due within a few days? We may have to give a little bit more for the time being, but eventually the project will be over and our life will “stabilize”.
This happens repeatedly, whether it’s work, school, a relationship, your health, or your children. At certain points in time, different aspects of your life are going to demand more attention. Understanding this as a reality can help alleviate some of the anxiety and/or guilt you may feel about the attention you are giving to these areas of your life.
Thirdly, be honest with yourself and others. When you share your “reality” with others, you may be pleasantly surprised by how many others face the same pressures and strains. Set the precedent. Be honest. Tell others how crappy you feel that you had to ask for an extension on a project because you didn’t want to miss your son’s hockey tournament. Being honest encourages others to do the same.
Fourthly, figure out what works for you. You may not be able to live a completely balanced life but you can figure out what your priorities are, what you are willing to sacrifice, and what will keep you content.
Almost a year and a half ago, I came to the realization that my career as a child care director was interfering greatly with my home life. I was physically, mentally and emotionally bringing my work home. I couldn’t escape the demands of my job and as a result, valuable time with my daughter and husband was being sacrificed. I was not okay with this. So, I looked for a decent paying job as a child care worker. It was a huge financial sacrifice. Since I’ve made this change, we can’t afford to be carefree with our money, we rarely go out for dinner, and we live by a strict budget. However, I was more willing to sacrifice money over time with my family. Some people may look at this and say, “See, you sought out balance in your life.” However, this is not a good example of balance. If I could achieve balance, I would have been able to stay in my previous position and not have been forced to make such a financial sacrifice.
Lastly, don’t compare yourself to others. Unless they are 100% honest, you have no idea what someone else’s life is like. They may look like they have and are able to do it all… but you truly don’t know what’s going on. Avoid the comparison “game” and you’ll be a lot happier.
What are your thoughts? Do you think leading a balanced life is attainable or not?
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