We had our second “discussion gathering thingie” this afternoon at our friends’ home on the theme of “balance.” Balance for me is a reminder to take care of everything I need to take care of, not just those things that are easy or convenient. And as a mother, or perhaps as a woman who now has the responsibilities of being a mother, this seems particularly important.
For me, getting little things done is quite easy. When it comes to the details of life I make a list and tick items off one by one. “Change sheets, pay Mastercard, sort baby clothes, cook dinner, submit rebate, purchase obscure so and so, bla the bla bla, and on ad infinitum. Truly infinitum when I consider the number of pages of lists I’ve gone through in my life! Some of this keeps the house running and my life on track, and I appreciate that. A full fridge, updated ID, taxes taken care of, bottles washed and TP stocked mean avoiding many every-day annoyances. In terms of mothering I think they can provide a stable, (reasonably) well-maintained home that’s a place of security and predictability.
However, for me, doing these things always comes first. And as mentioned above, these things can run to infinity. In other words: if it’s not a thing and do-able in a listy way, I may never get to it, even if it is important. Thus is exercise introduced as an example. I know I need more exercise. My body is reasonably recovered from birth, but it is not where I want it to be. It’s not just extra weight, though I wouldn’t mind losing a bit more of that just so my body feels more like me. It’s being limber, strong, energetic that I miss. Not hobbling when I stand up because my feet hurt and my leg muscles are tight. Being able to do a cartwheel with ease. All of this translates into being there meaningfully for my daughter as she grows into the indefinite future so we can have adventures together, be athletic together, enjoy time together. And since exercise is the one silver bullet for a long healthy life, it’s the best insurance I have as an older mother that I’ll be around for her for as long as possible: reintroducing predictability and stability.
Thus, if I want to live long and well, I need to not put first what always comes first. I need more balance. I need to put more of these important things in my life much more consistently. Or, looking back and long-term, I will be seriously disappointed with my life choices.
Not to mention that exercise, at least the type that I enjoy (bouldering, dancing, hiking) energizes me and brings joy into the rest of my life. So doing the cleaning, tasking and being with family are done much better than otherwise.
Balance for me, then, means identifying the components I need in my life and learning to put all of them first when they need to be first, while making sure there’s a bit of time for every part. Sometimes some parts will be overdone, sometimes underdone, but always at least partly done. And sometimes one part will seemingly take over from the rest for a while – but just a little bit – not for long – and not as much as it has been lately. In fact, I would say that I am starting to think that every day should include a good portion of most parts of life: exercise, meditation, connecting with people, being of service, taking care of what needs doing, and quality family time. Not to mention enough good rest. A day without a bit of everything sets me up for weeks and months of missing out on those parts. Though I can imagine some days going well with only the SMALLEST portion of taking care of business.
Balance. Here goes.