As we speak, I’ve got two sampling bottles of poop in my fridge, belonging to Pia and a 9 year old passed out with a fever on the couch. I’m pretty sure there’s a grasshopper somewhere in the house and judging by the Lucky Charms in the pantry, seems like the 4 days I spent away were a bit hairy.
On any given week, I waiver between batshit-crazy-lady-riding-a-firebombed-unicycle and catatonic-cat-lady-on-a-MindyProject-Neflix-binge. AND I KNOW I’M NOT ALONE!
Is there such a thing as BALANCE or is it this unattainable concept that exists only in online publications :How do you find work/life balance, Gwynneth?
My trip away was so peaceful and so void of my daily responsibilities that I started dreading them as soon as the plane landed. No dishes, no laundry for 4 days. Heaven. As I waited for my generous ride to fetch me at the airport, my mind ran through all the fires that needed putting out, and my pulse started quickening. My kids are sick, I have to cancel a dentist appointment, I’m late on delivering a quote to a client and the only answer I can muster up to any question, is “sorry, I just can’t right now”.
When I think of the things I accomplish on a day to day basis, they all seem pretty normal life things (dead chicken and poop samples apart). Cooking, schlepping kids to and fro, remembering to renew driver’s license (btw my new photo makes me look like a southern ax murderer or Eastern Bloc weightlifting champion): these are all normal things that should not overwhelm me. On a good day, I usually celebrate them. But when things start falling out of place, I often end up feeling like Mom on Wire.
I’ve made the mistake of planning every nano-second of my life and inevitably something happens. Everything flips on its’ head and chaos reigns supreme… so why bother? When I let go completely, things end up in chaos too. The outcome is the same. Surprisingly, when I’m disciplined and taking care of myself, shit is still chaotic around me.
There is never a time when all aspects are my life are peaceful, and trying to work towards that is completely futile.
By 7h00am this morning, as I was already 15 minutes late, not showered and un-fed, I had a breakdown with my mom. And she hugged me and said that I’m just trying to do too much, simple as that. And while part of me agrees, the other part of me thinks that some people do twice/three times as much as I do and I bet they don’t feel half as crazy. I don’t know that it’s how much we try to do that is the issue. I think it’s more about how we handle things when they don’t go our way: when I have to disappoint others, backtrack on a commitment, feed the kids a shitty meal, don’t look my best, essentially when I’m not nailing everything I do (which is often). You can see how this is problematic.
So my hypothesis is this: chaos reigns supreme every day of our lives. Your shit, my shit, it’s all crazy. By writing this and thinking about it all today, I’m calmer and have more perspective. You know why? Because in order for me to feel un-crazy, I need to write. You may not. Maybe you need to play a video game, or eat a bowl of ice cream. Apply copious amounts of hand cream in an airport shuttle service (why??). Anyways, I dare you to write a short list of the things that make a “good” day, regardless of what happens around you. Here’s mine:
EMELINE’S GOOD DAY:
MORNING ROUTINE + EXERCISE
GOOD CONVERSATION (could even be the nurse at the clinic)
WRITING(JOURNAL, BLOG, PLANNER)
Essentially, things can get out of hand, BUT if I generally stick to these things, I *should* be ok. And if I’m not, I’ll be ok tomorrow.
Balance is neither a thing nor a fixed state of emotion. I’m guessing that it’s more about how you react to the external factors than the nature of the external factors themselves. I read a good analogy about how real inner balance looks more like the type of balance you use when you ride a bicycle: you need a bit of strength to gain the momentum, and then you push push until you coast for a bit.
Don’t get too comfortable though, sometimes you need to change gears depending on what lies ahead.