Is Balance an Illusion?

It’s Sunday night, and I’m studying head and neck anatomy in preparation for sitting in on a couple of oral surgeries tomorrow.  I’m pretty nervous, as the surgeons will be asking questions and right now, I feel like there’s a whole lot of anatomy that I can’t remember.  No one wants to look like a fool, and I am very, VERY scared that I will.

I feel like I should have a better handle on this material, since I’m in my third year of dentistry and we’ve gone over this stuff a few times.  It makes me question whether I should have spent yesterday studying instead of participating in a college-wide golf tournament, where I actually got to hang out with my husband for 8 hours sans kids and my friends from school, all at the same time.  Then today I met a friend, whom I hadn’t seen for about 2 years, for coffee and spent about an hour and a half catching up.  Should I have been studying instead of doing that?  This morning, I got a little school-related reading in and did some meal-planning, but maybe I should have spent that time studying, too.  Or maybe I should have not golfed and hung out with my kids yesterday afternoon.   Also, I missed my workouts yesterday and today due to unexpectedly joining the golf tourney yesterday, and feeling rundown and plain not wanting to workout today.

My question is, is it actually possible to achieve a healthy balance between school, family, fitness, household chores, and leisure and not feel guilty about the choices you make?  I’m not sure that it IS possible, and I sure don’t know how to go about doing it.  It seems like no matter what choices I make these days, I feel like I’m neglecting another area in my life.  And if I were to drop all leisure activities from my life, well…all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy [or Joanne a dull, crazy girl].

So, right now, the office is in complete chaos, the laundry is piling up, I’m not prepared for tomorrow, and I’m feeling guilty for blogging instead of studying. *sigh*

Do guys worry about this stuff, or is it a woman/mom thing?  Is balance actually achievable, or is it a myth, like having an organized house or losing 7 lbs in 7 days?  What are your tips for living a (sort-of) balanced life?

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9 thoughts on “Is Balance an Illusion?

  1. couchpotatoathlete says:

    I wish I had tips for you. I just do the best I can. I try to schedule as much as possible, and soon it turns into a routine. Laundry has set days, my rest day from working out is Wednesdays, so I use that day to just veg out 🙂 Sat mornings I use to vacuum, dust, etc. I get up early to blog, comment early in the morning, on my lunch break or at night before bed.

    I think true balance is not really achievable — something always has to give — maybe thats the pessimist in me saying that 🙂

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  2. foresightyourctpsychic says:

    I believe that true balance is possible- but not how folks usually see it…

    When you were a child, did you ever stand on the middle of a see saw? Your feet went up and down and were rarely perfectly level, you leaned from side to side and were rarely totally upright….

    And you had balance. Perfect, dynamic, moving shifting balance…

    And true balance in life has to be like that too. Not some static pie chart, but a constantly moving, shifting dynamic- with joy in it if you make it so.

    I wish you balance

    Catherine
    Foresight

    PS I also find it useful when I’ve got a lot to do and not enough time, to do the best Ican, stop when I’m out of time, and don’t beat myself up if everything isn’t perfect.

    Because most things are wonderfully imperfect 🙂

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  3. jill conyers says:

    Yes, I think balance is possible but, for me, achieving balance was not really changing what I was doing. It was more about changing my perspective. No (maybe I should say less) guilt. No (less again) unrealistic expectations of perfection. No feelings of inadequacy. I was in my 30s before I realized this and now happily enjoying the benefits of my realizations in my 40s.

    Disclaimer: my life is not always a picture perfect balance. But more times than not life is very good.

    I’m curious to see what others have to say.

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  4. Tonia says:

    Yes and no. Balance is subjective. I think that balance depends on who is doing the balancing. I have found what works for my family, but from an onlooker, it may look like chaos. I focus on what is important to me and my family and I try to let go of the rest. So if everyone is fed and happy and healthy, then it doesn’t matter if there is a sink full of dishes. I hope you can find your balance!

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  5. foresightyourctpsychic says:

    I feel it boils down to, if you’ve done the best you could, that’s all you could do. And that includes if you’ve done the best you could given the other things you had to deal with at the time.

    And at that point, angst or guilt or “if onlys” are really kinda a waste of energy-one that drains you and prevents you from dealing with what’s going on now…

    There are some things deserving of guilt (we all mess up or do something negative some times). There will always be times when I fall back into old habits of “if onlys”….

    But the less I feel guilty about things I couldn’t help, the better my life is and the better shape I am in to do good things now.

    Life’s too short for beating yourself up 🙂

    Catherine
    Foresight

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  6. Holly @ Self-love and Running says:

    I worry about everything. I don’t know what I have any tips for achieving balance as I kind of constantly feel like I am running along a balance beam trying desperately to not fall off. Something that I do try to do is not guilt myself about things. I know that I am trying to do the best that I can do.

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  7. Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) says:

    I believe that I have a balanced life when it comes to work/ school and leisure.

    Even when I am in the midst of studying for exams, writing papers, etc. I always make time for relaxing and hanging out with my friends and family. I might write a paper Friday evening from 6 – 10:30, then relax for an hour or so on the couch with my husband. On Saturday I might do homework or study in the afternoon for a few hours, then go out at night. Sunday I will study all day (this is during exam time, or crunch time). I might also study 2 hours each night during the week if my exam is during the week, but I will always take at least an hour to lounge around. I will always go out with friends on the weekend, at least 1 night.

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  8. eatmovewrite says:

    I think balance is possible, but not all at once. Like, one week you are able to focus mainly on one thing, the next week it’s something else. The goal isn’t to do everything perfect at once, it’s to do things well over all. Sometimes, life requires improv. You just do the best you can. 🙂

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  9. Kat says:

    I totally feel your pain in the life-scheduling department. I do have set days for certain things (grocery shopping, laundry). Otherwise, I do things in priority-order of what’s most important to me when I get home which is basically always: Workout-Make Dinner/Meet a Friend for Dinner-Blog-TV-Pack Lunch.

    Basically every month, I take a step back and re-asses because some months I’m overwhelmed and eat out too much or my social life just evaporates because of stress and so I try to get things back in-order.

    I definitely agree with Jolene that you should schedule in some recreational, non-negotiable “you” time that does not involve anything that gets included in your regular routine.

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