So, we’ve reached the final ‘balancing act’. Time to drop the curtain and dim the lights. And are our players happy with how the show went?
I want to tell you a little story, in which I gained both perspective and also continued with my zen-like attitude that I’m trying so hard to adopt.
Two Saturdays ago the PTO of my son’s elementary school hosted a Color-A-Thon fundraiser. I was one of the driving forces behind said fundraiser, which probably surprises precisely no one. As soon as I saw a fundraiser based on getting children active and having run, I was all about it.
This fundraiser took months of planning.
We had meetings discussing logistics (like volunteers, parking, DJ, refreshments).
We had an amazing kick-off event where the principal and assistant principal were incredible sports, dressing up in funny outfits and getting powdered color thrown all over them.
Our students did an astonishing job raising money for the event. They were pumped! The parents were excited!
Saturday morning came and the volunteers arrived according to schedule. It was overcast but we were hoping that we would beat any storm that was planning on rolling through.
We set up the course. The DJ played tunes and the kids warmed up, ready to run the mile course. Everything was going exactly according to plan.
And then? Approximately 2 seconds after the run started… the skies opened up. It was a drizzle, then it came down a bit harder, and then a downpour.
I was panicked for a brief moment.
What would the kids think? How would the parents react?
I looked around. Parents shrugged and put up their umbrellas. And the kids? They came flying through the finish line with huge smiles. Bright white teeth against the color staining their skins and clothes. The DJ played Purple Rain.
It was perfect in its imperfectness.
Of all the things that I thought could possibly go wrong in the day, rain was not in any of the scenarios I dreamed up. The rain enhanced the experience and it was a surreal mismatch of what one would think would be fun and miserable.
Well. We’ve reached the end of this three-installment experiment, and I don’t know that I feel like I fixed my imbalance, I can say that I am definitely more cognizant of the ways I can improve it. At the very least.
1. Last month, meal planning was humming along perfectly and healthy eating was high priority. The last couple of weeks, however, have been so strange. Work schedules and personal commitments have resulted in scrambling in the evenings to make dinners, meal prep has gotten pushed around in the schedule, and the weekends (and honestly, some mid-week days) have been very lax. Mostly out of necessity. I guess that’s sort of the definition of finding balance though – and I wrote about it in my post about Why I Hate Cheat Days. So, more days have been taken away from the strict meal plan and we’ve allowed ourselves some room to just enjoy food again. That’s a good thing.
2. Gym time: Was going really awesome. The training cycle we had started a month and a half ago has been going well, but some physical setbacks happened and some general fatigue got in the way and more rest days were taken. Which, again, is balance – albeit frustrating. We’re regrouping and reprogramming our training for the next couple of months to help us reach our fitness goals and still make sure we’re getting enough rest and recovery time, too.
3. Money, honey. I’m pretty sure this thing has remained constant – still a work in progress, but maybe, finally, getting in the upswing? It’s about prioritizing, really. There are the bills that need to be paid, then there are the groceries to buy. And then there’s the goal-setting and saving that needs to happen to reach those goals. It’s not always (or ever) easy, but it’s not impossible. Like eating an elephant, this one can only be accomplished one bite at a time.
Moving forward, I think just being more aware of the need for balance in these areas of my life will help me make sure I’m making healthy life choices. It will also remind me to not be so hard on myself all the time – and that some setbacks are okay, and even necessary. Ultimately, that’s how we grow.
Creating balance in my life, it turns out, was different than what I envisioned.
I’ll be honest, I went into this little project with the idea that at the end of two months, I would be the most balanced person I knew, with all my ducks in row, waddling along in perfect, balanced unison.
Reality? My life is still pretty chaotic. My oldest is a high school senior, so there is a lot of prom dress shopping and college planning and summer job interviewing and general busy life stuff going on. My son is finishing up 7th, so there is testing and plans for summer ‘adventure’ camp, in addition to the less often, but still regular appointments with the hand surgeon. My job is high stress at times (this year has been one of those times), and isn’t always something I can leave at the door. And some nights, no matter what it says in my planner, I’m just not going to make it to the gym or cook the world’s healthiest and most delicious meal.
But amid the chaos, I still made time for me. I went away to Portland for the weekend with two of my best friends. I had a lovely anniversary dinner with my husband (19 years and counting!). Our little family all went for a walk on the beach, and enjoyed each other’s company.
I guess, what I’ve gotten the most from this, is the knowledge that I’m probably never going to have a life that looks all calm and even keel. As long as I’m not stressed to the max and unable to function, I don’t even know if that is the life I really want. I kind of like my chaos.
And really, the whole idea of balance isn’t sitting perfectly still while everything else is perfectly still in this moment of perfectly still bliss, is it? It’s attempting to remain steady while everything moves around you, going with the ebb of the tide, and then back with the flow, staying upright. So, in that sense, I’m doing pretty darn good at this balance thing.
Still, there is room to grow. Learning to let go of ideals that don’t fit or serve my life is a big part of that. And like Cam, I’m learning to say ‘no’ to things. I’m really trying to get better about scheduling things, and looking at that schedule every day, so that I don’t wind up feeling like I’m scrambling. And I really took to heart one of the tips Jenn gave in the last post, about creating a personal mission statement. This goes right along with something I’ve been trying to find in relation to weight loss… my ‘Why’. So, I’m working on those.
Now it’s May, and there are weddings and concerts and friend visits coming this summer. With my girl heading off to college, I’ll be taking every spare moment I can to just be with her, and to treasure them. And hey, there’s still that half marathon that I’m training for. So, is my life going to resemble that vision I had any time soon? Probably not.
But that’s just… my life. And it’s a good one.