Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day #69 & #70: The Balancing Act

Career, family, friends, love life...it seems like one has to literally clone his or herself to give each adequate attention. Whatever happened to balance? Euripides wrote "the best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man." Perhaps my equilibrium has been off for many years. However, like Euripides, I am learning about the wonders of balance and the power it has over keeping and restoring sanity to an otherwise chaotic existence.

I must admit, I have been a terrible juggler. I've typically been great at keeping one aspect of my life flowing seamlessly, usually my career, while another area of my life spirals into a downward abyss, generally my love life. I'm starting to wonder if Bridget Jones had it write when she declared, "it is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces." Ugh...why?!! Really, really?! Well, Bridget, I am here to once and for all dispel this myth and from this day forth will begin to believe that each and every aspect of my life can happen splendidly in perfect unison.

Why can't we have it all? Why can't a woman have the great career, the enviable relationship, and a thrilling social life? Why are we taught that it has to be one or the other, but never everything at one time? I'm starting to wonder if this is some misogynistic plot to overthrow any shred of happiness and balance a woman dares to achieve. OK, perhaps this is a bit extreme, but fundamentally, it really as if we have been conditioned to believe that the shift in the see-saw has to be one way or the other, never teetering in perfect equilibrium on its axis.

Hindus aspire to live a life of balance. Hinduism believes in 2 principles of a balanced life, the balance of the stages of life (ashramas) and the balance of the three goals of life (vargas)-artha (success, profit), dharma (consciousness development/ religious duty) and kama (love). Islam teaches to avoid extremism. Neither do too little nor do too much, but follow the Golden Balance. Christianity believes in the balance of faith, love, and work, and that all can be achieved through Christ. Or, my personal favorite, as Albert Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”

Extremes are just bad. Too much work or too much play is never a good idea. So, I am learning to juggle, and am getting much better at it. I want balance. I will have my successful career, my successful relationship, and my fabulous social life to boot. It is not an impossibility. As Pope John Paul II said, "Man always travels along precipices. His truest obligation is to keep his balance."

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