This I Believe

Sarah - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Entered on November 4, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: equality
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I Believe in Balance

I believe in striving for a balanced life. I am a mother of two toddlers, a consultant for nonprofit organizations, someone trying to stay in shape, fuel my creative spirit, be a global citizen. I could write an entire essay about any one of these things. But, I have come to realize that the most important thing is just trying to keep all of them in my life.

Oh, did I mention I’m also a doctor’s wife? My husband, Joe, is an orthopaedic surgery resident. My belief in balance has been forged over the past two years – six if you count medical school – as I watched my husband’s life be consumed by medicine. Don’t get me wrong, medicine is a noble profession, but I can’t imagine having such a singular existence.

Tonight, Joe came home after a 32-hour shift, too tired to give our kids the quality daddy time they so desperately want. He fell asleep in a chair after dinner. So, our 2 and 3-year-olds helped me take daddy upstairs, tuck him in bed, and kiss him good night.

Besides work and sleep, Joe doesn’t have time for anything else. Typically, he doesn’t even have time for three meals a day.

I believe that people need many things in their life to be fulfilled. I believe extremism in any single facet of one’s life is limiting to the human spirit. Joe’s extreme work situation is constraining his creativity, spirituality, and relationships. I know he misses spending time with the kids and me, and doing things that feed his soul like playing the guitar, building things, and even making a good home-brewed beer.

As for me, I try to find balance in my life. In addition to raising our two children, doing my work, and maintaining our home, I’m also trying to go to the gym regularly, take voice lessons, volunteer at church, and learn a new language. Then I realize I’ve achieved extreme busyness. True balance means also having some down time, some reflective and relaxing moments to balance the busy times. I’m not sure I’ll ever find the perfect balance, or even that it exists. But I find fulfillment in striving for balance, and having many facets to my life, and to my self.

Right now, having quality time with my husband is one of the things that is out of balance, for both of us. Although, the other night, he stayed awake to spend a half an hour singing duets with his guitar for old time’s sake.