"No. I'm going to hang out with your dad. It's only my second day back at work since his surgery," I answered
"What's happened to you? You haven't gone in a couple of weeks!"
What happened? Today has happened. Life has happened.
I have spent a lot of time over the past several years agonizing over finding balance in my life. Finding balance in how I spend my time so that I am able to fit everything in that needs to be there. The list of responsibilities and activities that are classified as "needing to be there" goes on and on and on and on . . .
I have driven myself crazy trying to fit everything in to my day. I have gotten up early and I've stayed up late. I have created and edited To Do List after To Do List. I have asked friends to hold me accountable so that I am not tempted to miss something, I have called ahead to my family so that as I slow down in front of my house they are ready to sprint out the door and hurl their bodies into the car. I have written out schedules and then re-arranged them ten times in one day.
I wear a bracelet that signifies balance in the hopes of having a visual reminder of my quest to find balance. I have re-listened to a sermon about Elizabeth's journey of finding balance (http://communityumchurch.com/portfolio/current-service-3-13-16-influential-balance/gallery/sermons/). I have cried. I have felt guilty. I have driven myself crazy.
The list of ways that I tried to find balance is longer than the list of activities that I'm attempting to balance!
Over the next couple of nights as I laid on the couch drifting in and out of a light sleep waiting for the alarm to prompt my husband to take his medication (He got his tonsils out. Sounds like a simple procedure, but at 42 - not so much!), my mind raced. Was there a problem? I hadn't exercised consistently in a few weeks. There were several things that I hadn't done recently. Everything had been focused on prepping for my husband's surgery and then his recovery. Before that we were wrapping up the school year and prior to that was Tennis Season. Life has been a little hectic. There was zero balance! I was quickly returning to the mess that had been my life six years ago.
At some point in the midst of my mind's exhausted haze I had a moment of clarity. Yes - life is hectic. But NO - I am NOT a mess.
How is that possible?
It's possible because my focus has not changed. I am still focused on making healthy choices when it comes to handling my stress, eating, time management and my family. My plan has not changed - I still want to be healthy. I still want my family to be healthy.
When life is hectic, my stress level sky rockets. So I'm pretty stressed out right now. But I'm handling it in a healthy way. I'm making wise choices.
The lessons I've learned:
1) I will never be able to find balance every single day. It will even be difficult to maintain perfect balance in a week's time. That's because balance is a big picture word. With all of the roles that I fill right now in this stage of my life, there are always going to be people or activities or responsibilities that require more of my attention. That doesn't mean that I'm giving up on the other roles. One of them will come back to the forefront in a few days or next week.
BALANCE IS A
BIG PICTURE WORD.
For these past couple of weeks, my husband has been my main concern. Our children stayed with my parents. I took several days off of work. All of the meals that I planned were bland and soft so that he could swallow them. My roles of wife and caregiving spouse were in that #1 spot. Yet, I maintained my focus on being healthy. I reached out to my support system when I found myself eating more chocolate pudding than my husband. Their series of funny texts kept me out of the fridge!
This weekend, my role of Tennis Booster President was in that #1 spot as the Team volunteered at our community's summer festival. I spent the entire weekend at the park operating the Crazy Colors Game Booth. I stayed on track by packing my meals and treating myself to a small bag of Kettle corn.
Starting Monday life calms down for a little bit. My meals are planned and prepped. I'll be back in the gym.
In two weeks when we start three weeks of various camps for the kids a touch of chaos will return.
But overall - Balance.
2) Balance requires maintaining my focus.
|My niece maintaining her focus on the balance beam.|
Life may pull me to the right and then pull me to the left, but by maintaining my focus of making healthy choices even amongst life's most stressful or busiest moments, I can stay on that balance beam of life.
BALANCE REQUIRES MAINTAINING
In a nutshell: Instead of worrying about fitting everything in TODAY (work, the healthiest of meals, exercise, my kids' getting to exercise, spending time with my husband, volunteer responsibilities and on and on . . .) I will take a step back and look at life through a wider lens. How have the past few weeks looked? Have I maintained my focus amidst life's chaos? I will look at the big picture.