Most people, seemingly, struggle to juggle life’s demands whether they are personal, social, family or work commitments. We may even be pushing the limits of our daily time allotment to see how much can be accomplished in 24 hours. Less and less down time is “scheduled” into our lives.
Personally, turning “off” the go button for me has always taken great effort, and probably will always take extra discipline. Though I’ve usually been aware of my fight to find balance, it hasn’t been until the last couple years that I’ve worked so hard to achieve that stability.
Two years ago, I was an office manager who worked too many hours and days, had an amazing husband of 10 years, lived in a lovely home with our puppies, and yearned for a day we would become parents. I didn’t hate my job, but I wasn’t happy. My husband and I filled our calendar squares with working, camping trips, hikes, fishing and hunting trips, dinners with friends and family, movie dates, dinner dates, and alone time.
Then came Nathaniel who will be 2 years old on Wednesday. Then came a major work change from office manager to working from home doing something I get pleasure from every day at The Transmogrifier. Then came Lyla, 7 months old. So now, here I am, given an incredible gifts of my babies, being at home with them, and the opportunity to work with other creative people. I get to do artistic and original work every day whether it is writing or photography and all that comes with it.
Never before have I felt I’m where I should be. Never before have I felt such happiness in all areas of my life. Never before have I struggled so much to find balance. Our calendar squares and the hours each square encompasses are filled with baby memories, field adventures, taking pictures, writing, picking, laughing, teaching our kids and learning from them. Now the work that fills my squares brings me such pleasure I have to compel myself to stop. Or, when I’m not doing it, I find myself pulling away from other things to focus on work.
It occurred to me the other day that my work and family life/free time are no longer neatly compartmentalized, but are seamlessly becoming jumbled up together. Our family vacations, field adventures, and road trips are full of image photography opportunities, blog entry inspirations and family memories. To a multi-tasker like me, that seems pretty darn cool! I get to check multiple things off my list with one event! Win win win! Or is it?
That depends on me. A few weeks ago on a field adventure with our babies and my husband, Chad, I realized with no small amount of horror that I was losing my balance. Or maybe I had lost my balance. We were out taking pictures, stopping at the San Francisco Zoo and the Japanese Tea Gardens. Throughout the day, Nate kept tugging on me, beckoning me. I can still hear his eager voice, “Momma! Momma! Momma! Mom! Mommy!”. Each time, I told him to wait. Each time, I barely acknowledged him because I didn’t want to miss my shot. I had work to do. I couldn’t be bothered with the love and exuberance of my son.
It wasn’t until I was lying in bed that night that I realized I hadn’t ever stopped to discover what Nate was so excited to show me. Epic fail. I then began wondering how many other times I had done this to him. How many times had I dismissed him or my husband? I was most certainly out of balance. With renewed vigor and effort, I have begun the battle to regain some balance.
Having a balanced life is different for each person as we all have different components that make up our wheels of life. But I do really believe it is realistic to get to a balanced place, even if the glitches come. The glitches will come. It comes down to with what and how we choose to fill our calendar squares. There is that word again: choices. We choose, for the most part, what and how much of what comes first in our lives. Quality and quantity. Obviously this fluctuates on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. But we have a large say in how busy we are…and being busy all the time doesn’t mean we are more productive or more fulfilled, necessarily. It might just mean we are busier. And that might mean we are missing moments and opportunities, like I did with my son.