One word I hear repeated over and over since becoming an adult is balance. Everyone is giving their two cents on social media these days, as to how they keep their lives balanced. Between food and exercise, career and family, down time and social lives. I think for most of us we are forever justifying the choices we make, even if we are slightly kidding ourselves. I find nowadays more and more often, we find a way to convince ourselves that we have found our own “balance” even if it is untrue.
For me in particular this is one thing I never was very good at, and always strived to find it even when it felt like I was chasing my tail. My biggest problem is my pesky passion to succeed, this will never let me do anything without it being grand. I don’t just want to have a job and make a living… I want to RUN things. I don’t just want to exercise; I want to compete on stage with the best in the world beside me. I don’t just want to raise children, I want to nurture, mentor, and grow strong humans. Truth be told though, on any given day I truly and completely SUCK BIG TIME on at least one of these things.
The downside to this is that while performing one task, I am usually festered with guilt about the other. I pledge to myself pretty much on an hourly basis that I will even out and make the time for the other thing. One important lesson I’ve learned from “adulating” is that if you want to live with extreme guilt, then have kids …or a dog. My good friends even came up with a fitting nick name for me, “Over Cara” due to the fact that I over think, over exercise, over parent, over eat and over talk… I don’t do anything in moderation. ESPECIALLY when it comes to feeling guilt.
I’m so very fortunate to live with a super human man that does all of his own cooking, laundry, shopping and 80% of the house work around our place, so at LEAST that’s out of my brain. Or should it not be? Should I be helping HIM more too? As I sit at my computer working at the end of the night, and peer over the screen every now and then to watch him contently scrubbing down the little messes the kids and I leave everywhere…I should just enjoy being super thankful for him. Instead I feel my usual guilt. Where in the world is all this “balance” everyone is always bragging that they found? My friends and family all post the most amazing highlight reel of their day in a Valencia filter, having it all together…so what am I missing that everyone else has seemingly found?
Then there’s my gym time. That’s a whole other beast for me. I have no idea what it is like to not carry my phone with me so my kids (they are 19,17 and 10 btw) can text and call me during every single workout, because…well…I feel guilty that I’m not home instead of at gym. Stupid I know, since I work from home and see them all day long and yet…I always feel a little neglectful. The sad thing is they are probably happy to have me gone for that hour, five days a week, so they can eat on the couch and put their feet on the counters. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t get a handle on this over thought out “balance“. Even when we are hanging out, or on our usual bike ride together, I feel like I should get home and make a plan for a client or painting something for someone. Why in the WORLD do I feel SO out of balance all the time?
All of these feelings led me to spontaneously attend a woman’s business luncheon seminar with a special guest speaker. She appealed to me because she is a very successful entrepreneur and mother as well. I don’t usually go to things like that, but at this time in my life I thrive on personal growth tools, and for good reason. As a rule, I always take one thing away from every experience and that day was no exception. I came prepared to learn something grand…I didn’t know what yet, but I was going to learn.
Near the closing of her engaging dialogue, Amilya Antonetti finally gave me what I needed. She was now addressing that ever so elusive “balance”. I sat up straight, and scribbled rings and rings of ink on a blank page in my notebook, in preparation for the amazing advice I was about to apply to my “unbalanced” life. When she spoke on this subject I was prepared to write fast and furiously to keep up. I was a little taken aback by the next thing out of her lips. All she did was ask us a simple question. “Balance? You want to know about balance? I’ll tell you what I have discovered…there is no such thing”.
That was it?! Really? I spent $45 for a lunch I can’t even eat (I was hauling my usual competition mode Tupperware with me) and THAT was my advice? But as she explained herself I began to understand. There IS NO such thing as balance…only an ebb and flow. She stood there motioning her arms like a beautifully robed Greek goddess, on the back of a gold, holding a weigh scale. As she described the ebb, her left hand lowered representing work and responsibilities. That made the right hand raise, representing family and social life. Then vice versa in the other direction, but never quite touching bottom on either side. The key Ms.Antonetti explained, is to never put all of your energy into one thing completely. As long as your ebb and flow stays in constant motion, and your scale gently shifts continuously from one to another before it hits the bottom then you have it right. You need to give the utmost attention to what you need to do each day, but never be so focused that you forget about the other side of your life.
I can honestly say I have never slept so well, and been more settled about my decisions and what I do. Even though I have always know in my heart that I am doing the best I can every day, I finally know it inside of my head too. My guilt is always there as almost all mom‘s and dog owners can agree, but it has gotten better.
There may not be such thing as balance out there, but if I didn’t have the peace I needed while I was searching for it, I certainly have it now that I’ve stopped.
By, Cara Roberts
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