Surprise balance & the gratitude to go with it...

If I had a theme for my life (and we put aside The Quest for Streaming Creativity At All Times, I think that theme would be "A search for balance." My surprise this morning was the discovery that maybe I'm making strides on that front. Which is to say: I think I've finally found a way to handle my life with more of the balance I crave. Because this morning I actually feel balanced: in a way that made me perk up and pay attention.

Since I tend to approach things with excessive amounts of "in the moment enthusiasm," I've often poured everything I have into one area while ignoring all else.  This tendancy certainly has its short-term value, (read: she likes her instant gratification,) as I enjoy being in the moment and really focusing on what I'm doing... when I can garner all the resources of my wayward attention span. But what happens when you have a whole stream of these cycles? Well, the paperwork piles up, the emails don't get filed or deleted, work and family and friends get neglected... you get the point.

On a personal level, I've discovered a serious pattern of letting my concern with the traumas of loved ones encroached on my work time. After all, our relationships matter more than anything else, right? Well, yes. But there's more than one way to interpret that sentiment. Go too far with the caretaking and you'll find yourself needing to get a part-time job to supplement the freelancing, and reading books on co-dependency. Trust me, I know. (And I recommend you do read them, too, if you find yourself curious!)

This morning before I got out of bed, I mentally scanned the week just passed. This was one of the busiest weeks I can remember. I don't take that statement lightly, having recently lived through the one I wrote about here. I guess you'd say it was just differently busy. Those 10 minutes of reflection are what led to my starting the day in another great mood, rather than dragging my feet with complaints of being tired (two back-to-back workdays that lasted more than 12 hours leave their mark.)

Here are just a few of the things that might have tripped me up in the past:

  • The list of things I need to wrap up before I leave the steady job is completely impossible to accomplish.
  • The list of things on the tablet on the desk beside me now can't be read without turning the page.
  • Two of the important people in my life are very unhappy, and I am sad for their pain.
  • Several other important people in my life are going through serious life-altering challenges right now. The kind of challenges an earlier version of me might have just gotten seriously caught up in trying to help them with. (Because of course they couldn't have handled their problems without me, right?)
  • There's more, but this is enough to make my point.

But once I lay there and let my mind settle on each of these responsibilities, and each of these people for a minute, something different happened than before. I gently put those thoughts aside and moved on. I moved on to my own day. To what it is I'd like to accomplish today. To what it is I can reasonably accomplish today. A manageable version of those first two lists. With some fun thrown in, just because.

It felt very, very good. In that way that you find yourself automatically breathing a deep sigh that starts at your toes and surprises you by the time you exhale. (Can you remember a time you sighed like that?)

Here's to keeping our perspective, knowing our limits, holding our boundaries in place... and to never forgetting to have gratitude for the tiny and the huge successes.