Mar 16, 2015

On Having it All

My goal this year has been to find better balance. Where last year was the time of cutting unnecessary elements from my life, cutting out that which took me away from what I wanted most, this year has been figuring out how to give the appropriate time to the things I have determined to be of value. 

Have you ever tried to do this? 

It is very hard.

I've been thinking about this a great deal. There is the tendency to list all the things that I do to prove how busy I am, but I'm trying really hard not to glorify busyness because that line of thinking tends to make me make excuses for not getting things done in the timeline I intended. But I have come up with a few tips to keep me a little closer to balanced.

1. What is the cost and what is the benefit.

For everything. Going to a child's musical performance? Costs me a hour or so of my time, benefits the relationship I have with my child and gives us the chance to celebrate their progress together. 

Watching an episode of Scandal during quiet time at my house? Costs me an hour or so of my time, benefits me nothing (really). There are times when fatigue won't allow for writing and then I can justify it, but outside of that? Not really justifiable. 

Watching an episode of M*A*S*H with my husband? Costs me a half hour (though we usually watch two, so an hour or so), benefits me spending time with my husband and he loves to watch a show with me.

2. What do I want 3, 6 and 12 months from today?

Yes, we are supposed to live in the moment, but that moment has to have the self-awareness to realize it is fleeting and others will be coming. In the moment, it is easy to justify away our conviction, to have moments of vulnerability that could set us on a detour that leads away from our goals. 

It's easy to sit down at the end of long day and justifiably be "too tired to write" or to skip the gym in the morning for similar reasons (don't worry, I've only been consistent for a week - work in progress). 

But I hate living with regret, of looking at what could have been had I only...

Baby steps - with all their wobbling and uncertainty - are better than no steps. 

3. Don't let one bad day derail the next.

Hi, I'm mortal. I have bad days - in writing, time management, diet, and enthusiasm. But just as a candy bar doesn't ruin a diet, neither does one not quite focused decision have to toss out the entire day. Or the one after. And saying, "I'll start again Monday," moves us away from our dreams. There are days when my kids activities totally govern time spent (hello upcoming dance competitions). They are part of my future, my dreams, my goals and that needs to happen. And there are days when they need to take the back burner to intense writing time. But balance only happens when the distribution rotates through all the things I have deemed most important. And even that might change. Checks and balances are not just a theory for our governmental structure - they are essential for us to have the lives of providing and self-satisfaction as well. 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

An hour spent with your husband watching M*A*S*H is never wasted.
We regret more what we don't do then what we do. That should tell us something.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Spending time with loved ones is never a waste even if it's watching TV together. My husband and I have a hard time finding things we both like.

David P. King said...

Having more family time, and I mean doing things as a family vs. watching stuff as a family, is something we're working on this year. Played some Baseball with the kids last night. We need more outings like that. :)