This I Believe

Sarah - Thornhill ON, Canada
Entered on December 28, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe that balance is bogus.

By “balance” I mean the kind of Zen-like, air-brushed, picture perfect ideal of life balance that seems to be sold in every women’s magazine.

If I see one more article that tells me to “take a bubble bath,” “schedule time for myself,” or “re-examine my priorities” I am going to do something really unbalanced – like turn it into confetti and toss it in the air as I celebrate my freedom from such cliche platitudes.

But before I go on, I must confess, I didn’t always feel this way about balance. I too have fallen into the balance trap. I once even had the chutzpah to briefly name my life coaching practice “Balanced Woman Coaching” and I was convinced that I could solve the great “life balance dilemma” for the women of our generation.

You see, thanks in part to reading too many women’s magazines, I really thought that if I could just get more organized, manage my time better & make all the right, totally informed and conscious choices — then I could achieve a perfectly peaceful and lasting state of life balance.

Then, I had children.

And I learned that balance is not an achievable state that any mother can maintain perfectly over the long haul – no matter how hard she tries. Rather it is a constant state of movement involving constant readjustments. Think about standing on one foot — even if you seem to be perfectly still — you would continuously have to make small adjustments to stay standing. It is the same in life.

On any given day, you can ask yourself if you are moving more toward balance, or away from it (closer to falling over) but the expectation that you can constantly maintain a perfectly balanced life, if you just try harder, is as unrealistic as expecting yourself to stay perfectly still while you stand on one foot – forever.

Moreover, my favorite Yiddish saying is, “A mench tracht u gut lacht” Which means – “Humans make plans, and G-d laughs.” How can we keep everything perfectly balanced, all the time, if just when we’ve got everything sorted out, life throws us a curve ball like losing a job, a sick parent, or even a joyous occasion like another baby?

I’ve believe that there is no such thing as perfect life balance – There are only choices to be made, the best you can, on a daily – sometimes moment-to-moment basis – trying to keep the big picture and your end goals in mind.

Instead of trying to create the perfectly balanced life, I now try to remain a balanced woman. In other words – I try to stay balanced inside of my own head and heart.

To me a balanced woman regularly tunes into her own thoughts and feelings, makes choices that reflect her values, and takes the time to replenish her depleted energy.

In short, a balanced woman lives purposefully – not perfectly. She can survive and even thrive with whatever life throws her way.