Isn’t it funny how you think you’re the only one that struggles with something and then you mention it and a bunch of people are like “ME, TOO!” So, when I recently said I was having some serious issues with balance, it wasn’t really a surprise that there were others in the same boat.
So, we decided to write a series of posts about our lives, and their current level of unbalance, and how we’re going to work toward better balance. And if you too are find yourself saying “ME, TOO!” to any of our tales, you should join us in the comments, tell us why you’re feeling off balance, and together, we’ll all try to achieve a bit more of this.
Ohhhhhh. I see.
Balance is something I always seem to be struggling with. I am a VERY black or white individual, something I learned last year is a common characteristic for adult children of alcoholics. It is ALL. Or NOTHING. EVERYTHING, all at once, or complete shutdown. Go big or go the hell home. Like, every few months, I literally become this insane self drill sergeant.
“Alright, you maggot, get to work. Clean up your diet, cook a healthy and delicious meal every night, get up at 4:00AM every day and work out, drink 100 ounces of water, MINIMUM, put on a full face of makeup every day, and perfect hair, and pearls, clean out the closets, and the garage while you’re at it, organize your bills, get that planner filled up with color coded notes, make time for family and friends, be the perfect employee and DROP AND GIVE ME TWENTY.”
Since doing EVERYTHING, all at once, isn’t sustainable, I just wind up a quivering ball of failure-type feelings on my couch, feeding my kids chicken nuggets and using my planner as a Ben & Jerry’s coaster so that I don’t drip on my sweaterpants. Hindsight being 20/20, this is about the time I look back and realize that I totally set myself up for failure but making a plan that lacked a key element.
And had I tried a more balanced approach, there’s a good chance I would have accomplished significantly more. And been less crazy.
So, really, that’s what I’m working on. I have my shiny, pretty planner, which is a good guide. I’m working on making reasonable plans, and doing my best to stick with them. I need to learn to let myself off the hook when I am not perfect, and allow good to be good enough.
Finding balance? Nah. Creating balance. That’s what I’ve got to work on. Like, a work life balance. Which is not to say I work too much, but rather that I am really struggling right now to keep my work and my volunteering and my personal life in harmony.
Too often, I feel like I’m giving more of myself to one of these areas than the others and while sometimes that’s required, it’s not usually proportionate.
And even worse, when I realize I have too many things juggling in the air, I get that feeling that says “I don’t want to do ANY of this stuff. I want to be an ostrich instead.” Usually that results in procrastination and ultimately more stress because I didn’t get my ish together.
I don’t really know. Sometimes it feels like I have work/life vertigo. Not so much with the balancing.
Maybe it means scaling back the things that I’m involved in (I don’t wanna.) Maybe it means using better time management and organization tools (I know this works for me.) Ultimately, I know that as much as I would like to rope my boyfriend into helping keep me accountable, it’s really just up to me to figure it out. He’ll help, I’m sure, but really, I gotta figure it out myself.
So, I’ve got myself a planner and the month of March promises to be one that gives me a chance to get a few things in order. I’ve got a couple of concrete goals for the month, some financial, some related to volunteering, others related to work. If I can’t create balance right away, I can at least create some organization, and that’s a start. From there, I can asses and regroup. And in all of this, I’ll remember to breathe.
I’m not good at balance. As a member of the ADHD community, I’ve always operated on a need to do now basis. That is, I procrastinate until the absolute very last minute and then spend all my energy completing that necessary task, sometimes to the point of physical exhaustion (staying up all night to finish a running costume, anyone?). To make matters extremely more time consuming, I’m a perfectionist and will spend way too much time on said task until I am absolutely satisfied. I can say with all confidence that I have the absolute worst time management skills. I’d be totally fine with this non-strength because as a perfectionist, I always (well, mostly always) fulfill my obligations. As I get older, however, my body can’t keep up with my last minute lifestyle. I’m in my last quarter of graduate school, I teach full time, my kids play soccer and take karate, I have animals and laundry and dishes, I make fancy cakes on the weekends, and I’m supposed to be preparing for the many races I’ve already invested literally thousands of dollars in.
I haven’t ran in months (excluding a very painful Star Wars weekend). I haven’t actually worked out once this year. My body is soft and achy and I’m tired. Logically, I know I need it. Right now I’m in survival mode and exercise isn’t on my list of obligations to others. But it should be on my list of obligations to myself. There’s probably a very extensive explanation for why I spread myself so thin. I’m sure my therapist has some theories. Whatever the reason, I need it to be different. I need me to be different. Because this frantic way of living in the extremes is so damn tiring. I’m seeking ways to meet myself in the middle. I want to get organized. I want to start running again. I want to start writing again. I need to find a balance between what others need from me and what I need from myself. I don’t have a plan yet (big surprise) because I feel like everything in my life is important. There isn’t any time to trim, but there is space for rearranging. I’m going to Tetris the shit out of this.
Do you ever feel like you’re balancing twenty plates on your hands, feet, and head? That’s basically what I’ve got going on at the moment.
I don’t share every portion of my life on Scoot a Doot because that’s not the platform for which we created a blog. However, suffice to say, there’s a lot going on right now and my main issue is that I’m not in total control of it all.
And honestly, there’s not way I COULD be in control of it all. There are many factors that are totally out of my control. My child getting sick and not being able to go to school for 3 days, putting the kibosh on anything and everything that I needed/wanted to get done?
That is not something even my superpowers can change.
My son needs me to rub his back, kiss his head, and tell him that everything is going to be all right. Which is exactly what I’ve been doing for him. He’s the number one priority and all other things fall by the wayside.
So what happens when there are three or four things that are all volleying for that number one position in the priority line? What then?
Well, I don’t know. I’m trying to figure that out. I know that eventually everything will get done; but being the perfectionist that I am, I want everything to be done the right way, not just the easiest way.
Going forward, my main focus in regards to the priorities will be to first think rationally, then emotionally. I’m a fairly rational thinker but when it comes to stressful situations, the emotions like to be front and center and I’m not talking about the loving, sweet kind.
I cannot control every situation, but I can control my reactions and how I handle things.
I know what to focus on and what to let go.
So, do you feel us? Tell us! We want to know how you create your balance, or how you’d like to try!