A “balanced life”. I keep hearing this term everywhere – at work, in books, from friends, in social media; it seems like it’s something we’ve become obsessed with: “you need to have a balanced life”. I think this is closely related the expression of “work-life balance” I guess. But what exactly is a “balanced life”? How do we measure balance? And more importantly, can we really have balance in life? Does it mean work for 8 hours a day for 5 days a week and then come home and disconnect from work? But then there are other “responsibilities” we have that require our time and attention like family, friends, hobbies, volunteer work, “me” time, and perhaps some other mundane things like organizing bills, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, exercise, etc.. Taking into account how many hours per day we need to (or should) be sleeping, how can we find the time to do it all and have a perfectly “balanced life”?
This has certainly been on my mind recently. Ever since we had Lucas (almost 3 months ago), I have been trying to figure out how to spend as much time as I can with him and Grace as I possibly can so that I don’t miss out on things as he grows up. BUT this is incredibly difficult to do, especially when I take a look at my current situation and take into account work (plus add an hour each way for commuting), graduate school (twice a week for 4 hours each day – then add homework, studying, and group work), church volunteering, shopping for necessities, trying to hang out with friends and family…and the list can go on and on. Ok…I know school won’t always be here and in about a year and a half I’ll be done with my master’s, but I’m sure life will fill up the vacancy right away! There are many things I’ve had to push to the side for now such as my guitars, and volunteering in the church band, exercise as much as I would like to, Netflix and all the shows I’d like to watch, events that aren’t close or convenient for me to attend, video games, and many others!
It may not seem like it, but I’m not complaining about it. I’m simply writing about what I’ve noticed and how the idea of a balanced life really doesn’t exist (at least in my opinion). I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what we do, we are always making choices and tipping the balance one way over another, and hey I think that’s okay. Life changes, and when we are in different stages in life, our priorities will also change. Grace and I recently visited our friends in Georgia (who all happen to have kids around the same age as Lucas – crazy!!), and as we flew back to Maryland, I shared with her how funny I thought life was – 3 years ago, that same group of friends was hanging out at bars in the Atlanta area, staying up late at bonfires, and the boys playing video games until the early hours of the morning (although I think this still happens), and now we were all hanging out at a friend’s house for a BBQ, with what seemed like 100 kids running around, crying, eating, or laughing. Yet, none of the fun and joy we had before disappeared. Instead, we were enjoying life the same way we were 3 years ago, even if it looked completely different.
Obviously, I’d like to have more time to do all the things I think I’d like to do, but since I can’t make my days longer, I have to be selective. I hope none of my friends have felt forgotten, and if they have I truly am sorry, definitely not my intention. But, as I always tell everyone, our door is always open for people to come visit and hang out with us! We can’t always be on the road with Lucas! I’m sure life will continue to change as Lucas gets older, and our situation shifts. I certainly hope that I’m able to continue choosing what’s really important in life and not feel pressured or stressed about the things I just can’t focus on right now. It’d be interesting to see how others feel… Cheers!