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Is There Such Thing As Balance? …and May Flowers Day 21

I mentioned to some friends a few days ago that the only balance in my life is a cookie in each hand. They contended it would take something a little stronger to make them feel balanced, so I amended it to a Long Island Iced Tea, which everyone agreed, under the circumstances, was more appropriate.

The truth of the matter is, I struggle with finding balance in my life. But as I think about it, I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t.

Somehow we, as a society,  have come up with the idea that life CAN be balanced. That we can have it all in somewhat equal measure all the time. And that if we want to be good spouses and good parents, and good employees, we need to find it. But I’m not sure that is the case, particularly if you are a passionate person involved in a passionate pursuit, such as art.

When passion is your guide, there is no balance, at least not as a matter of daily routine. It consumes you, requires that you put all other lesser pursuits aside until it is spent for the moment. Then and only then can you take care of the more mundane aspects of life. If you try to contain it, to parcel it out a bit at a time, you are left frustrated, and whatever the pursuit is, suffers for it.

Mr. Tattered refers to my passion as my “obsessive nature.” He says I tackle whatever it is with a single-mindedness that leaves a swath of debris for everyone else to clean up. I don’t think I’m THAT bad, although I do know that once I’m “in the zone” it’s hard to get me out. I admit I leave a swath…but everyone else clean it up? NO way. It’s always there waiting for me when I come up for breath! And I do come up. And then it is often weeks or months before I am consumed once again.

That leaves me to believe we creatives need to take a more global look at our lives. To find balance, not in the sense of a daily, or even weekly time frame, but in larger chunks of time. Do we take vacations? Do we keep the house well enough that the health inspectors won’t shut us down on a weekly basis (or even monthly) then clean real well once in awhile (or better yet, have someone else do it for us?) Do we make time for our kids amidst the chaos? Do we keep up on our books and paying the bills on time? If we can say yes to those things, then our lives are in a balance of sorts, even if to look at it on a daily basis it might not seem so.

So guess I answered my own question. There IS such a thing as balance. You just can’t have it all in one day, or even a week or a month. But over time, you can balance a passionate career, a job, and a family. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself right now. Do you disagree?

And pivoting now to Day 21 of May Flowers…

Next up in my daily tour of the flowers in my garden is my raspberry verbena. I have to confess, this is a new plant. The one I planted last year came back looking pretty sickly. Verbena is an odd flower. It is supposed to be perennial here, but sometimes the second year is pretty pathetic. Since I found a beautiful specimen, I decide to yank and replace this time, rather than try to nurse it through. I’m getting impatient in my old age!

If you are a flower lover you may want to check in with the others participating in this 31 day challenge and see what they are presenting today!

About tatterednworn

I am a woman who has committed to living a creative life.

16 responses »

  1. I was just reading about this very subject in Danille Laporte’s The Fire Sessions, and she has the same idea that you do. Balance is a myth. If you are following your passions at any given moment, you will be fulfilled — though maybe not “balanced”.

  2. Balance…hmmm I certainly do not have any knowledge on this lovely topic. For me, because of having a crazy day job, physical issues and this creative drive balance does not exist. I only know that I need to do something creative every day even if it is just a doodle. Maybe that is my way of balancing. Love the Verbana – I am off to WI tomorrow and can’t wait to see my Mom’s flower garden.

  3. Fantastic post Janet. So very well written. Probably one of the best I’ve read on the subject of balance in our lives. I’ve long thought the idea of living a balanced life a bit overrated. It seems to call for some sort of “sameness” everyday, and that just bores me to think about it. I love your idea of passion driving us creatives, allowing for tips and dips in balance in our everyday lives.

  4. A great perspective on a universal challenge! If we look too closely we miss the bigger picture. Thank you for pointing this out. I too forget to look at every aspect of my life over time and try to come to terms with it without taking it all into account. Balance is about more than a moment in time. I am also enjoying your garden ~ beautiful!

  5. Great, great post today. I kept thinking that “Balance” should be my word for 2013, but like you pointed out, does it even exist the way I live my life. I think if I lived a truly balanced life I would be boring as boring can be!

  6. I have a project that I have just started on this very topic of balance 🙂 take a peek if you are interested and let me know what you think. I love your view on balance by the way!
    🙂 Cheers, Navina

  7. Balance – pah! this is my motto for this year ” Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. ~Franz Kafka” Mercilessly – yep that’s what I am aiming for – I already KNOW I totally SUCK at balance so I am taking it off my list!! (mostly kidding)

  8. Wow, Janet! I never thought of it this way (I know you know balance is a topic I struggle with), but it makes TONS of sense. I don’t know if that is just me trying to rationalize my behavior, but it really does ring true. This is something I am going to ponder and pay more attention to, but I think you are definitely on to something here and once more have stated something complex in a very easy to understand way!!!


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