May 8, 2012

Seeking Balance


It’s funny—the word balance keeps popping into my head these days. I kept thinking about it as we worked through the weekend on boat projects: Ev rebedding a hatch he ‘temporarily’ put in several years ago. The hatch he had replaced was much smaller and the hole he cut was raw and ugly—and was right over my head in bed where I saw its raw ugliness at least twice a day. Maia and I sorting her clothes (my gosh she’s grown!), her shelves and all her lockers. We offloaded about eight big bags of clothes, books, and stuff.

Meanwhile the sun was shining and I was wondering if we were using our days right—we’d already had a busy week full of projects—didn’t the pursuit of balance mean that we earned time to play?

I have a friend who points out (mainly in response to my nagging) that a balanced diet is achieved over a week or more, not just in a day. Another insists that the marathon she ran at twenty means she’s still fit at forty. And as cruisers most of us feel that the years of extra work and effort we put in are more than balanced the day we cut the docklines.

The problem with all these equations is the perception that it’s either all or nothing. We’re either toiling to achieve something better or we’re spending down our efforts. And the point where the whole equation really falls apart is when you’re not out cruising—but not in countdown mode either.

Which brings me back to balance…
The past few years when we were out I kept feeling something was just a little off. I really liked our work/cruise combo (mainly because it keeps my brain active and it’s nice not going broke) but we didn’t come up with a smooth way to integrate them. It was either a marathon of work (typically because we were paying to be in a marina or somewhere with wifi access), or it a fĂȘte of sloth (usually with a bunch of snorkelling thrown in). It didn’t have a sense of rhythm to it. No matter how I tried to squeeze work into the play days, or play into the work days it just felt false.

But technically now we have the ability to balance things. We should be finding a rhythm that includes the perfect mix of work/leisure/friendship/learning/exploring/laughing/exercising/parenting. But instead I get caught up in one project and think about all the ways I’m letting everything else slide and end up feeling guilty.
So now I’m thinking maybe my effort to achieve balance is completely missing the point…

5 comments:

The Ceol Mors said...

I needed to read this. Thanks for writing this. Balance is indeed what I need to find around here. Now if I can just remember where I put it...

Ramsay said...

I like Ralph's motto: Anything worth doing is worth doing to excess.

Diane, Evan and Maia said...

Ramsay--I think you are right. I seem to be happy when going flat out:) But the idea that maybe balance is obtainable is hard to shake.

NatGeoWannaBe said...

I second Cidnie's post.

Colleen Friesen said...

The way I've been looking at things lately is using the metaphor of a teeter-totter.
It's boring when it's balanced for too long, though it's nice for a bit, holding that equilibrium and all, but after a while it feels dull, flat, nothingness.
So, we slide our weight a little forward or back and boom! we're up in the air, or down or Something. It's just fun to be Somewhere different. I don't think balance truly exists, at least not every day...some days I manage a little of this, a little of that...most days? not so much.