Is life balance even possible?
If you subscribe to the Church of Danielle LaPorte, then the answer is “Hell No!” (You should read her post that I’ve linked to. It’s quite something. I’ve also heard her talk about this subject quite extensively in interviews, and she basically says stop doing the things you’re not good at, and get great at the things you are good at. Give the stuff you don’t like doing to someone else to do. Full stop. Again: get great at the things you’re good at.)
I’m with Danielle on a whole lotta mojo, but I’m not entirely sure I’m 100% on the same page as she is on this one. I get where she’s coming from. And I think she makes some good points, points that many of us would do well to assimilate.
Howevah, life has to be lived, and not all of us can say fuck it, I’m going to get really, really good at writing Haikus. Because, let’s face it, if you “made it” and brought in millions, you’d be the first to do so in the world of Haikuism. As far as I know. Point being: you’ve still gotta craft a life that works for you, and sometimes you can’t afford to be single-mindedly dedicated to making yourself better at something you’re already good at, while letting the stuff you’re not any good at, nor interested in, fall by the wayside, or on somebody else’s plate. Especially if there isn’t a zillion dollar book deal at the end of your Haiku.
I’m OK at lots of administrative tasks, computerized or otherwise. I can craft a mean spreadsheet. I can input data. I can file alphabetically. Does any of that make me tingle? Uh…no. Do I have to do it? At this point in my life, frankly, yes. There’s no one else around to do that shit. And I’m not pulling in the bucks to pay someone to do the shit I don’t like doing. Believe me, if I could afford to give it away, I would.
So for now, I still have to figure out a balance between what has to get done and what I love to do. It’s a highwire act worthy of Cirque du Soleil.
Well, here’s my secret…
Most of the time I don’t.
And that’s what Danielle is talking about: do what you can do successfully because you love doing it, and outsource the rest. But paying for groceries is a higher priority than paying for outsourcing my monthly bookkeeping, sadly, at this juncture in time. I’d love a VA, but it’s just not in the budget right now. Do I plan on changing that down the line. Hell, yes I do! But, life moves one step at a time, and I can only be where I am. I can only make a move from where I am. NOT from where I think I should be.
Got that? Let me say it again, because it goes for you too. You can only be where you are.
So that’s step number one: accept the current reality. There’s no achieving balance if you’re deluded. (Well, maybe there is, but it requires copious amounts of vodka, and will give you a hangover that could slay a dragon.) Not only accept the current reality, but get friendly with it. Love it. Appreciate it. Find some fucking gratitude about it (that sounded pretty appreciative, didn’t it?), whether you like it or not. Because things will never change until you learn to love where you are. Screwed up, right?
And that’s a weird process. Kind of like the love-fest with my thighs I had to discover, I have to learn to love making kids’ lunches every day, cleaning my own house, and doing my own bookkeeping. Why? Because loving those things will open up non-resistance. And resistance is where we lose all our energy.
I live with chronic pain. And I have learned that mindfulness is one of the most effective pain management techniques I have ever come across. The gist of it is this: when the pain is bad, feel it, really allow the pain, go into the pain and explore it with your senses. Stop fighting the pain. And more often than not, when I stop fighting it, when I allow it, when I take away my own resistance, the pain lessens considerably.
I think the same principle applies in most areas of our lives. When we take away our own resistance, and allow instead, things stop being so painful. Things will stop eating away our energy, and we will have energy left for the things that are enjoyable. Things we are great at.
So do I think that life balance is a myth? Well, for the time being, if I can balance my family and what has to get done with my own energy levels, minimizing pain flare-ups which knock me flat on my back for sometimes days at a time, leaving myself some energy for what I enjoy doing – for what I am great at – I will happily consider that a balanced life.
And that’s good enough for me.