Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Balancing Act

I felt pretty bad.

My stomach wasn’t quite right, likely from the gross but oh-so-good greasy meal I had consumed the day before.  I fasted for a day and drank a gallon of water to flush out my system.  After a while I felt better.

I went to a course selection meeting at our son’s school and he stayed home.  During the meeting I realized I should have insisted that he come along.  That made me feel pretty silly, to let my student miss an informational meeting about selecting classes.  I talked to the school counselor who assured me that the kids would hear the same information at school.  At home I unloaded all the information I had gleaned from the meeting onto my son, who advised me that he already knew it all, and I was relieved.

I neglected to tell my husband that it was our week to bring home the girls – our daughter and a friend – from a basketball game the one day that I was unable to do it at the last minute.  He brought our daughter home and left the friend at school alone.  I felt awful and panicked about it, but her mom picked her up and was gracious and forgiving of me when I apologized. 

The past few weeks I have struggled to get ahead of the curve – days blend into one another and I forget how much of the week is left.  I live and breathe by my calendar but it doesn’t always help.  I feel like I’m missing something, like I’m always playing catch up.  I'm inefficient.

I’m off balance.

* * *

It’s partly the weather – I’ve written enough about it.  Staying in day after day away from the elements is good for keeping me warm and cozy, but bad for mental and physical health.  Busy days don’t stop, and they often change because of the weather, and because of regular old inconveniences like illness or double-booking or slow-moving traffic or lines at the grocery store.  These things all require constant alertness.

Most days I don’t feel up to the task of navigating it all.  There’s a book that I need to finish, a TV show that I want to catch up on.  We’ll just have frozen pizza for dinner again.

Busyness and doldrums don’t go together.  They must be balanced.

Maybe from the outside I look like things are going fine, like I’ve got it all under control.  But I don’t, not any more than anyone else does, anyway.

Maybe that’s the point.

The house is relatively clean, all the people in it are relatively happy, and we have relatively fresh bread and milk and eggs in the fridge.  I’m doing my job relatively well.  Maybe the balance lies in relativity.

* * *

I’ve spent a lot of time in my life quashing comparisons.  The comparison trap is one in which I learned very early on to circumvent.  The day I internalized that there will always be someone more talented, successful, and savvy was my first day of freedom.  The angst of personal comparison is real, and will never bear fruit.  I am better off improving myself for the good of others, not to compete with them.

We each make decisions about what we focus on.  The major role we assume requires the most of our time and thought and sacrifice.  Pursuing a demanding career, caring for an elderly parent, managing disease, a difficult relationship, the needs of children – we all have a priority on which everything else must be balanced.  Minor things like weather, traffic, the other cards we’re dealt must also be given attention.

But sometimes, we are not feeling up to it, and things start to crumble a little, and we feel bad about it.

It’s okay, most of the time.  The bad-for-me meal was a rarity.  My student chose the correct classes.  The friend made it safely home.  There are milk, bread, and eggs in the house.  We can have French toast for dinner.

There is room for improvement.  I can always do better at this balancing act.  But overall we are well, and we are content.

And that’s enough.



  1. I feel like this too. These days when I stay inside all day and it is cold and grey, I think it messes with my mojo a lot. I constantly feel like a work in progress, like there is always something to work on. Some days I attack with gusto, while on others I do enough to get by and reassure myself I'll get 'em tomorrow. And like you, we are all well and content, and so I think that counts for a lot.

    1. It does count for a lot! Sometimes we need to turn off the "enough ISN'T enough" mantra we are fed, and see it from a pure perspective.

      Thanks Kim!

  2. I feel like this too lately.
    Some days I can barely have the energy to vacuum up the cookie crumbs and then VROOM.
    No, lately, I don't even have any VROOM.
    I want to find my balance again.
    I think I left it back in October.

    1. I could go for some VROOM, too.

      That or a vacation that goes from January through March. I am starting to realize exactly why my grandmother always went south for the winter.

  3. I read this all but the second to last sentence is my favorite. :)

    1. Thank you, Elaine! I have trouble seeing the simple truths, and writing them out always helps.

  4. I am doing okay right now with balancing. But this is very often my life. Way TOO often.

    1. Ups and downs and some chaos is normal, I think. I'm glad you are enjoying the balance right now. It's always good to recognize when things are good.