Monday, June 17, 2013

The Unbalancing Act: Why It's Okay to Live a Life That Isn't Balanced Day to Day...

My Life on Various Days

I've given up on trying to live a balanced life.
At least daily.

Today, I was sitting here feeling overwhelmed with some projects I need to finish, my To Do list, and realizing that I've been letting my blog slip lately, just showing up on Tuesdays and basically pretending I don't have a blog.

As I've mentioned in other blogs, when I start to feel too overwhelmed and unorganized without a plan of what I'm doing, I tend to check out.  I tend to move to the easiest path-- Facebook? Gardening? Gatsby?  Don't mind if I do.

I move out of my overwhelmedness into a life of leisure and denial.

To fix this is easy-- all I need to do is sit down with my To Do list and order what I need to do first.  Then I go to bed, wake up, and follow the numbers 1. Edit E's mss  2. Essay for Her Kind  3.  Blurb for D.  etc.  (Going to bed either for a nap or all night as it's the one thing that clear my mind.)

What I realize is my days aren't these perfectly balanced pie charts of  Family/Exercise/Leisure/Writing/Clients/Home Projects/Garden  but days where I focus on only one thing.

Today is edit E's mss.  That's about all I'll get done, though there will be a lunch with my mum thrown in.  There will be no exercise, no writing of my own, no home projects, no garden.

Wednesday is my Two Sylvias Press day where I will work on projects for that.  And finish my essay.  And some social time in the evening with my writing group.

Friday and Saturday is mostly family stuff.  And if the weather is nice, maybe we'll get some paddleboarding in.

What I've learned is not to freak out if my days are out of balance because they are.   They will be heavy with something, light on something else.

I've started looking at my life less in the micromanaging place, but more from above, the way one would look at the world from space.  I see my life is unbalanced in the daily place.  I see on a Monday I am locked in my office working on an editing job and Tuesday I am sitting on the deck for hours with my family.

I've stopped freaking out about balance.  And I've stopped trying to have it.

What I do is look at my life from above with the things that matter to me--

Am I spending time with my favorite friends and with my family?
Am I writing and completing my own projects?
Am I making enough income so my family can do the things that are important to them?
Am I helping the community, both locally and literary?
Am I healthy and getting out in the world physically?
Am I feeling connected spiritually?
Is my house/garden a disaster?

For me, those are my key concerns.

Everything else falls to the side.

There will be days where I just clean the house, fix all the broken things, and work in the yard.  There will be days I am out on my mountain bike all day and then off on a hike.  There will be days where I go out into my shed for the entire day to write.  There will be days where I'm only doing family things.

Each day is not balanced.

But this works for me. I have never been a multi-tasker on a daily level. I can do one thing at a time.  When there is too much, I am the overwhelmed toddler putting her face against the wall to hide from the overwhelming sensation of too much life, too much noise, too many people, too much...

I realize it's not about having balance, but creating it.  It's an unbalancing act that feels chaotic in the moment, but when you pull back you see the pattern, you see the chaos forming patterns, a balance of sorts and how nice it is to know, if I take care of the days, the years will fall into place.

~ Kells

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