Earlier this year I sat in a grand old ballroom, soaking in the inspiration from a conference that shifted my perception on many things that I thought were steadfast in my life. As I scrawled more and more notes into my notebook I felt a sense of relief start to shift and in an enlightened moment I decided I’m so done with feeling guilty.
Boom – done – just like that! The juggle that is a marriage, children, a career and the general sense of doing it all – comes neatly wrapped up in a fancy bow of guilt. Sitting heavy in my stomach, guilt twisting over each day, I did not want to live this way anymore. So I traded guilt in for feeling empowered instead and the change in mindset felt – so good!
In the weeks that followed the guilt slowly eased. I felt energised by my day. But then, ever so slowly, something else started to creep in. While the guilt was disappearing, the juggle was certainly still there and I found myself in a constant battle to find balance. Trying to do one thing and then another and somehow keep all the balls in the air. It almost felt like I was walking a tightrope for most of my day, arms outstretched, not daring to look down, looking straight ahead and concentrating ever so hard to get to the end. That’s when it hit me, is balance the new guilty?
There seems to be nowhere to hide from the work-life balance. Everywhere you turn, it is there. In our social media, news articles, endless books all offering opportunities to get the balance right. The scientist in me cannot help but wonder about the idea of balance and finding that equilibrium: that both sides of the equation directly affect each other.
Well this certainly felt true in my life. In trying to balance if I spent more time on one thing, I did feel that it was at a cost of time to something else. Now while I wasn’t feeling guilty over this, I certainly wasn’t feeling great about it either.
I’m really into Danielle LaPorte lately and one morning one of her inspirations quotes appeared on my social media feed “If you want to do great things, striving for balance is a losing game.” There it was again – boom – the realisation that I don’t need balance either.
Maybe it is mercury in retrograde, surely it can’t be a mid-life crisis, but I am no longer holding onto things that weigh me down. Letting go is not only exhilarating, it has become a necessity. I seek to live in the moment and be strong enough to strive for change if it is not working. I only have one life and in that life I strive to do and be many things. But I will not be weighed down in a balancing act of trying to juggle it all.
Snuggled up in bed late one night, hubby and I were chatting about the dynamics of this work life balance when he turned to me in his midnight wisdom and said, it is as if you are trying to fill water from the well: you have ten buckets, each time you try and put a little bit of water in each bucket and then try and carry more than one bucket. Not only is it hard, it is also not the best way to fill water from that well. How about you just stick to one bucket?
One bucket – that works for me.
Do you strive for balance? Does trying to get balance make you stressed?