I often hear people giving themselves (and sometimes others, unfortunately) a hard time about getting the balance ‘right’ in life. I’m not sure that there is an absolute right or wrong. Strike that, I’m pretty sure there is no right and wrong. What is ‘right’ is in the eye of the beholder. There is just too much variance between people and circumstances for balance to be anything but unique for each person.
So, what is this thing we call a balanced life and does it really exist? Certainly not on daily basis and definitely not in any one defined way. Who gets to say what a balanced life looks like? You do!
The process of values clarification is helpful to determine what is important to you, at this point in your life. Values form the compass that guides and focuses action. Having a balanced life is also a value rather than a state we can achieve and maintain. Balance is ephemeral, beautiful like a bubble that is here for a moment and then dissipates.
Life in its natural state is a constant ride of ups and downs. It is full of change, different phases of life and sets of circumstances. In light of this barrage of change, we are constantly appraising and adjusting to attain this ephemeral balance. This is normal and in line with the reality of life.
Balance in all areas of life is not possible to achieve every day, week, month or even year sometimes. There will be times one or more areas of life dominate (e.g. new baby) and other areas are relatively neglected. I look at balance as seasonal.
If you are aware that an area of your life is being neglected, e.g. a demanding work project means little time for health, family and social life. What are some of the things you can do, no matter how insignificant they seem, to invest in your health, family and friends while the project is active? What will you do after the project? Roll straight into the next demanding project, take a less demanding role for a time, or take some time off? We can look at balance strategically, instead of beating ourselves up when we need to focus predominantly on one area of life for a time.
Choose actions that are consistent with your values and show consideration to those who are impacted by your choices. Use your observations and the input of others for information and learning, but don’t make comparisons. No one has the same in the mix of personality, values and circumstances. Don’t burden yourself with unrealistic expectations.
This is your life. You choose how to live it. Work on crafting and living the life you desire.