At times, my life seems to mirror the only aerobics class I’ve ever taken: Me- tall, thin and leggy- in the back row, two steps behind everyone else.  While they step left twice, I step right, attempt to correct my blunder, but as I do so, realize my classmates have moved on.  Now they’re doing some fancy hip gyration combined with phantom cowgirl lasso-swing.  My hurried lasso-swing is slightly less coordinated than their Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader move.  It’s appropriate to call my move, “Hail the Cab.” 

While it may seem that I’m intent on highlighting my own awkward lack of coordination, I just mean to say that sometimes one can feel out of sync with life.  The music plays on, but you feel you’re stepping out of beat.  Whether the feeling is slight or severe, you feel out of balance in some way.

Fairly recently I became keenly aware of the balance in my life.  I decided that I wanted to restore (it might be more fair to say create) balance in my days.  I had just begun working part time, second shift, at a hospital in our area.  To anyone else my choice to return to work probably seemed insane for a busy mom/step mom of four energetic little boys, the youngest of which- at one year of age- didn’t yet sleep through the night. I found myself ending my work shift to greet a new day, then rising with the sun to my role of Mommy after too few hours of rest.  What drove me to return to work at that time and keep such as tiring schedule is probably best left to another blog entry.  The result of my decision, however, was that I began to look differently at how I was using my time and energy, as well as how my daily choices and actions impacted my sense of balance.

Going back to work after having solely cared for my growing family for over four years meant not only a shift in balance for me, but for my children and husband as well.  Way to state the obvious? You’re probably right- big life changes obviously affect the whole family.  My husband was given more on his plate with me gone several evenings each week. We both immediately became even more sleep deprived than we had been. The increased demand and tough schedule left me groggy, feeling like it dulled my intelligence, zapped my patience and affected the way (or if) I interacted with others.

I questioned how I could  make this work. After all, I went back work with our family in mind.  My life is as much about me as it is about them.  I was working to help us all, but my goal was certainly not to become an irritable mama, or lose what is special in my life now for something else later.  I’m passionate about my family and dedicating to giving them my best.  I began to feel off, I began to feel like things had shifted in an unbalanced fashion.  Was I doing too much? Could something be done differently?  How could I feel more balanced? What, during the challenges of my life, would keep me even-keeled? How could I bring more balance to my world? 

Like anyone, I have personal goals.  I have a drive to help earn an income, be present for my kids, maintain my relationship with my husband, see my friends, and stay committed to my community service projects.  Yet, I’m just like anyone else and I can only do so much.  I don’t want to feel like I’m back in that aerobics class, shuffling left while the others gracefully two-step right.

Entwined in my need for a balanced feeling in my life is a desire to really define and go after my passions.  Aerobics may not be my thing, but I’m starting to discover what is.  I’m a huge fan of self-improvement, as I believe that we are all strong and capable of introspection.  I’ve also always fancied myself a writer, but I have not had the pleasure of writing as consistently as I have wanted to in quite a while.  

On some lovely day during which I probably was able to have a nap and an extra cup of coffee, I decided I could pursue a few passions with this very blog, by writing about my own journey to discovering a more balanced life.  If you have read my preface, you know that when I say balance, I mean living in alignment with one's core values.  That's hippy for, "feeling good about the way you live your life." It means listening to your own inner wisdom that tells you what to pursue, what’s most special to you and what allows you to feel like you're doing the right thing with your time and energy.

Don’t so many of us crave a bit more balance? More of what brings us joy, rejuvenation, health, purpose, calm, peace, clarity or whatever we define as the “stuff of life?” Of course we do. So, as I work on it, I’ll share it with you.  It may be anecdotal, a review of a book I have read, or a summary of some skill I’m trying to sharpen.  Maybe something will resonate.  Perhaps you’ll have some wisdom to share with me.  There is a chance that you’ll think that I’m still doing the “hail the cab” while everyone else is doing the “cha-cha.” Or, and I am hopeful that this is the case, what I discover in my pursuit of balance might possibly help you, too. 

I would love to hear from you.  What areas of life do you most wish to find balance in? Do you already have checks and balances in place for yourself which tell you when you're in alignment (or not) with your core values? What helps you regulate the balance in your life? What boosts harmony and what creates a barrier for you? Let me know what topics you’d like to hear about!

05/15/2013 11:40am

Lovely post, Jen. As a hippie, it's right up my alley! I really like the idea of living out one's values. I like the word incarnating--for these ideas you are writing about. I think writing about how to balance time in the social media world would be a great topic. As I've done more in that area in my life, I have certainly felt out of balance and longing for drop-by visitors at my house rather than on Facebook. What do you think about that?

Nina Pollard
05/16/2013 5:03am

Beautifully written. I admire your candle and introspection. I share your values it seems and I am in awe of your ability to "balance" it all. You have bravely said out loud your intention to live an authentic life. Watching your journey may inspire me to act.

Lee Ann Cook
05/18/2013 5:07am

you are inspiring me to meet my personal goals :) loved reading this Jen. XO


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    Jennifer Loebel