Life’s Spinning Top And The Balanced Life Myth
I have to be open and honest about my skepticism towards a perfectly balanced life. I have never really understood what it’s supposed to mean in the first place. I have always thought of a ‘balanced life’ as putting relatively balanced, perhaps equal, attention towards personal priorities like family, friends, work, and health. However, upon further inspection, I just don’t think being a perfectly balanced person is possible.
Consider your life as it is by taking a look at your schedule. Some days you focus solely on fixing your car and maybe a few other errands. Other days, you spend a day dedicated to your work. Some days, you focus entirely on your family. Maybe you have got a crisis in your life and you’re going through the various stages of grief or healing. Through the chaos, there is harmony.
I can’t buy into the ideal that it’s possible for everything balanced and perfect all at once. Life, and the world as we know it, is cyclical. For me, life is like a wobbling, spinning top! It’s always correcting, wobbling, a little off balance here to stabilize there. Like the Bible’s Ecclesiastes verse, otherwise known as that Byrds song Turn! Turn! Turn!, there is a season for everything:
A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing
When we look back on a period of our lives, we tend to say, “Oh yah, that’s when I was young, broke, and adventurous,” or “I remember at that time in my life, I was completely obsessed with my work and I barely saw my family,”. I don’t think I have ever heard someone look back on their life and say, “Yes, it was perfectly balanced and nothing was out of whack'”. Those that do say that tend to romanticize their past because they are unhappy with their present.
What I give my biggest, neck turning side-eye to are the people who swear up and down that their lives are well-balanced, made for family TV. Having worked with people like this, I can tell you these people seem to have the most drama in their lives.
I wish so-called leaders would get real and confess that there are areas in their lives that are a mess or at least need some work. It’s natural for things to get out of whack: for our house to be messy, for our work to be a complete disaster, for our families to be unhappy, and for our relationships to suffer. The important thing that matters is our ability to recognize that something is wrong and have the courage to deal with it – and get help, if necessary.
What do you think? Is it possible to have a perfectly balanced life?
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