Among the many topics running through my head at any given time, one I think about most often is balance. For many years, I felt the need to control all of life's actions and outcomes so as to keep the world in perfect harmony. It seemed as if any one thing fell out of place then the house of cards would tumble allowing life to spin into chaotic entropy.
At some point, I decided that was no way to approach life as we humans have control over very little. In fact, as Rhonda Shasteen, my mentor, astutely put it, "You have control over only three things. Your thoughts. Your words. Your actions. Everything else is in someone else's control."
When reflecting on control and the elements in balance around me, I decided there are so many spectrums of balance in life. For example, the most common spectrum of balance would be the balance between eating and exercising. Other elements include the balance between work and play and want vs. need.
Eating vs. exercise. Wouldn't it be great if we could eat what ever we wanted to, rarely exercise, and maintain a statuesque physique? We all know that's a fantasy, so we must exercise to stay healthy and balance out the good food we enjoy. Fortunately exercise can stimulate oxygen, blood flow and adrenaline. There are benefits on both sides, but it requires balance.
Work vs. play. Many of us would be content to play all the time, while another set of us would like to work and produce non-stop. We have to work to earn a living and maintain a standard of lifestyle, and we need to play to relax and enrich life in a way the office can't. Neither work nor play can't exist or be fully experinced without the juxtaposition of the other. How much more do we enjoy vacation when we take it after finishing a grueling project? It's fantastic. Isn't it great to escape to the office when things in your personal life grow overwhelming? They balance each other out.
Want vs. need. This is a tough one because it is so heavily impacted by individual income. I may want those shoes, but do I need them? I may want the car, but do I need it? Even if I need it, can I afford it? Many buy the car in lieu of contributing to savings and a 401(k). As a result we're surrounded by many thirty thousand dollar millionaires, a set of folks setting themselves up for future turmoil.
All of the spectrums are important to each of us, and all of us have a different fulcrum on the teeter totter. The important thing is to realize where you find balance and feel comfortable with where the bar is for you though it won't be the same for you as your friend. That's what makes the world go around and adds richness and color to life. The best we can do is strive to achieve balance in our lives each and every day with the set of challenges and blessings dealt to us in that day. No mater how hard you try, you may go through longer periods of imbalance, just do what you can to not stay that way too long. If you work to balance one day at a time, then the whole concept of a balanced life may not be so overwhelming.