Julie Lyles Carr: Monday Musings...Balance? What Balance?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday Musings...Balance? What Balance?

"Balance is the new form of self-torture. If you grew up with a picture of Twiggy on the wall, I think balance is the same sort of thing: You can try to attain it, but it's just not happening."
Candice Carpenter, iVillage (2001)
We strive for it around here.

We often fail.

If I'm keeping the house together and the laundry completely caught up, our schoolwork seems to lag. If our schooling is going extremely well, our bathrooms are, um, lacking.

If M is completely on top of every bit of minutiae at the office, it usually means that we haven't seen much of him at home. And if our home life seems to be running on full nutrition, M is usually fretting about the work load at the office.

Faith, groceries, soccer, work, Bible study, cleaning, laundry, lawn mowing, youth group, dance, therapy, family time, game night, recreation, socialization, business. The list seems to continue to grow and expand.

And I keep searching for balance.


That elusive fulcrum between the duties and responsibilities of life in tandem with the relationships and experiences that make our lives worth living. That attempt to keep all the little boxes of life stuff in perfect sequence and harmony, creating an equilibrium between the obligations and amusements in life.

M and I have never been too good at balance. We often teeter out on the high wire, knees shaking, arms akimbo as we not only try to navigate the balance beam but juggle at the same time. And yet our pursuit of 'balance', whatever that mystical land may be, still remains a vision for us. Somehow, somewhere, we will figure out how to cover all the bases and still have time for recreational pursuits. Someday, someway, we will determine how to make all the pieces fit.

But thinking on the above quote from Candice Carpenter, is that ideal of 'balance' just a 21st century dream, just the by-product of post-industrial, post-agrarian life? Did our ancestors even ponder on such things, or was it just simply a matter of folding all the bits of life, the work, the chores, the kids, the books, the learning, the cooking, the very stuffing that makes it all full, was it just a matter of living it all out simultaneously? And is that perhaps why we as a culture are now striving to find balance again? Have we allowed our lives to become too compartmentalized, where work is a separate place and experience from our children's schools which is a different place and experience from the home front, etc.? Is it even reasonable to try to meld all those entities together?

I clearly have no answers. I'm just trying to get my laundry caught up while occasionally exercising my brain. But I would love to hear your thoughts on the balanced life, where you struggle, where you succeed, what you've learned along the way. Write a post on this topic and put the url of that post and your name in the Mister Linky's box below and leave your gems of wisdom in the comment line. I want to know how you manage the trapeze!

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