|Davis and E.V. at the public library for storytime...three weeks ago. #toobusytopost|
With everything that's going on in our lives right now, I'm constantly plagued with anxiety that something, somewhere is being forgotten, ignored or overlooked. I'm also constantly plagued with wanting to cram every possible thing into this little life of mine and simultaneously wanting to lay around and watch HGTV all day. Most days I feel like I'm just trying to control the chaos, and along the way I get brief moments of sanity-saving relaxation.
It seems to me that life should get simpler with age, but that hasn't been true in my experience thus far. In fact, it seems that things are getting more complicated instead of more manageable. Everyone always rants and raves about how your 20s are about finding yourself; however, no one ever warns you that your 30s are about doling that newfound self out in tiny portions to the other people and demands in your life.
At the end of each day, in the quiet of my bed, I think back over the past 16 or so hours and wonder if I managed to do everything well. The answer? An inevitable "no." Somewhere amidst the many failures, dropped balls and forgotten promises over the past few months, my daily goal morphed from one of achieving at everything to balancing everything. And, truthfully, I've come to realize that balance isn't the best aim for me; in fact, it's a bit of a lie in my opinion.
"Balance" is an illusive goal that promises us that, once achieved, will magically allow us to give every area of our lives the appropriate and satisfying amount of attention. The concept of balance would have us believe that by simply organizing and compartmentalizing our lives, we can do it all. However, inherently "balance" implies that you have to take from one area in order to sustain another, and thus something will always have to suffer--and that can hurt. We pay the price for anything in the amount of life (minutes) we spend doing that thing, and so as I find myself seeking balance, I find myself inevitably disappointed in at least one area of my life.
We are constantly making choices of how to spend our time, and I believe that it is in these choices of sacrifice that our priorities emerge. In thinking about my life in particular, there are a few reoccurring categories that I've been trying to balance:
Family (Ryan, E.V., Oscar and Olive)
Work (Paisley Papers and Retro 8...and maybe this blog!)
Working Out (ugh)
Sleep (nights and naps)
Alone Time (blogging, watching television, reading, surfing internet, shopping, etc.)
Socializing (for E.V., for us as a couple, and for me as an individual)
Household Chores (cleaning, laundry, bills, grocery shopping, household repairs, etc.)
Spirituality (things eternal: church, small group, devotional time, prayer, service, etc.)
When I look at all of these categories, I know that not all of them can get the adequate amount of attention needed to truly achieve balance, so the question at the start of every day is, "Which area will suffer today?" The "saint" in me thinks that Sleep should always come last, suffer most; it seems like the most expendable of categories in the sense that it doesn't seem to accomplish anything. But, of course, we need sleep, like, literally need sleep to survive, so it can't always suffer. Then, of course, I look at Alone Time and think it seems expendable--but a girl needs her sanity, right?!? Oh, and Working Out? I'd gladly ignore that category completely (and have in the past), but then I feel yucky and lazy. Ryan and I usually find little time for Socializing, but connection and relationship is such an important part of life that it makes me sad to go too long without seeing our friends (or E.V.'s friends). Household Chores are a bummer, but since Ryan takes on a majority of the financial burden, the house belongs to me. Overall, I figure that if I can get Family, Work and Spirituality in line, then at least I'll have a good foundation as I evaluate and trim the other areas of my life. However, I'll always feel a sense of emptiness no matter which categories I choose to sacrifice.
I know this post was a bit of a rambling thought, but I wanted to share what's going on in my mind space, just in case it's burdening anyone else out there.