I believe in balance. I believe in being well rounded. I’m not sure I will ever get a trophy for “The Most Well Rounded Person”, but when I go home at night, I will feel happy and full-filled. It is not easy in my personal, or professional life as a physician. Balance takes a lot of work to achieve.
I can’t really remember the last time I was involved in a project where “being the best” was NOT the goal. As early as junior high, I was either running or swimming 3 hours a day in preparation for a meet…to compete for number 1 of course. Then there was school. I knew I wanted to be doctor, so I had to be the best in my class, right? When I reached college, however, it was clear that I had to forego my aspiration to swim competitively in college if I was to excel in academics and go to medical school. When I failed a physics test after choosing to study for days without exercising or eating right, I wondered how wise it was to cut these things out of my daily life. The question becomes, can you truly do your best at any one thing if you sacrifice everything else?
Through medical school and residency I expected my time and energy to be wholly encompassed by my education. Life seemed one dimensional, though, and so I made a commitment to get to the gym occasionally and even joined a group at church. My husband commented within weeks that I seemed to be happier and more content.
To my amazement, demands for our time only increased. As we started a family and began our careers, my husband and I were faced with desires to be the best spouse, parent, and doctor among many other things. To do this, we couldn’t spend 80 hours a week doing any one thing. I realized I could not be good at anything, if I tried to be the best in any one thing.
Balance in life is a difficult thing. I work at it every day. I am a pediatrician 3 days a week. I swim or run daily. I make a point to have family dinners, play on the floor with my daughter and have dates with my husband. I work hard to carve out time for all these things, because as happy as they all make me, no one aspect could stand alone in making life complete.
I am sure there are millions of people out there working to achieve BALANCE every day. They should be recognized for their efforts. It’s time to stop feeling guilty about not being “The BEST”. I’m a better doctor after a few hours with my daughter. I’m a better mom after a good run. I’m a better runner after a date with my husband. I am better, when balanced.
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