Balance is defined as equal distribution. I think some people think of “life balance” and “living in balance” as everything in equal parts. I don’t see it that way. Sometimes when I struggle it is because I don’t recognize what balance means for the season I’m in. There are times when nothing is about me. There are times when it is all about me. It’s as though something is showcased in a season – like one particular project I’m working on – and everything else has to be adjusted to accommodate that priority.
I often see ‘life balance’ in the context of work. In this case, I would say there are times when it is all about the work, and there are times when it is all about life outside of work. It may not be equal parts or equal time, but there is time for each and it comes down to whether you are spending time or investing it. In the context of ‘living in balance,’ it may be about the deer eating up your plants in one season, and about you eating up the deer’s land in another. It may not be equal, but we are neighbors and it comes down to whether or not we ignore that relationship or we acknowledge it.
There is another definition of balance that takes into account the crazy, busy lives of the modern age: a habit of calm behavior, mental steadiness, or emotional stability. Balance IS about ‘keeping calm and carrying on.’ It is about being or having peace in the storm. It is that leader you can go to when all the deckhands are bailing water out of the ship’s cabin. For some, that stability is about being a mother. But a mother, in my view, must also make herself a priority because forever out of balance is not good for the family.
Balance may be about giving up something – time to care for yourself – in order to care for something else – your studies, your work, and your family – but there will come a time when you have nothing left to give. You become resentful; neglected. Caring for others – the rest of the world – is about caring for yourself, but you cannot forgo the rest that you need. If it wasn’t for you, it’s true, it may not get done. That is not license to never stop, that is permission to realize that you too are sacred, worthy of time, and care is a priority.
How do you define balance if all things are not equal for every season? What throws you out of balance? How do you know when you’re off-center? How do you regain your balance?