Balance is really a simple science: if you have a scale and you put a brick on one side and a feather on the other, the brick is hitting the floor. I learned that lesson long ago and try to apply it in my everyday life, even when I’m making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich; if I don’t spread my peanut butter evenly enough on my piece of bread, and lay it on too thick on one end, I can barely get through it without gagging or being completely repulsed by its sticky and overwhelming existence.
But let’s talk about balance in my real life, yes? I mean, I could talk about peanut butter and jelly for days but in this case, the peanut butter is me and I’m just trying to spread myself evenly against the Wonderbread of life. Whoa, did I just go there? Yup, I did. I compared my life to PB&J. And I’m totally OK with that.
Lately, I’ll be honest, I’ve been finding it excruciatingly difficult to balance my personal life and spread myself evenly across everything I feel I need to do. I understand I can’t be good at everything (I learned that when I auditioned for choir….), but when it comes to balancing what’s important in my post-grad life, do I have to have to pick only one of the five things I want to excel in?
To explain better what I mean, I’ll pick five things that are most important to me: my job, my family, my friends and relationships, my ‘me’ time and taking care of myself. Now – as a human being, I want to squeeze all of those in my daily life and pay attention to all of them.
I want to wake up, hammer the nail square into the head at my job. And when I’m done with work, I want to call my friends and family and offer my attention equally to every single one of them. Then after that, I want to have quiet time just for me while I paint my nails, pluck my eyebrows, work out, take my vitamins and be the healthy freak-version of myself. Oh, and then I want to go out and dance around with my friends. All in one day. Every day.
Doesn’t sound possible? You’re probably right. I agree, that previous description of my dream schedule probably isn’t possible, but it would be nice to come somewhat close. While I want to pursue success in relationships, my job, and my personal self, it’s difficult to do so as a post-grad. Unlike my college days when I had 3 hours of class and 21 hours of nothingness, my time is limited after this whole 9-5 business. To be honest, I can barely find the time to do one thing well, never mind the other 4 or the 10,000 other things responsible adults need to take care of (laundry? Dishes? Pshaw). And it’s like some weird cycle, because knowing I can’t accomplish everything I want and need to only makes me stress out more than the original overwhelming to-do list already has.
OMG, real life is making me crazy.
I need to find a way to conquer this, before I have a complete post-grad meltdown. (Editor’s Note: Don’t worry – that’s just another post-grad milestone, honey!)
So I’ve come up with an idea, and it centers around lowering my expectations (which seems to be a theme in this life after college). Maybe I need to stop being so extreme about each element and just not expect as much from myself. I need to be content knowing that a simple phone call to my mother could suffice for a day as opposed to struggling to get home for the weekend and giving them the attention they deserve. I need to understand it’s impossible to grab coffee after work with all of my friends. I need to carve out a little time here and there to treat myself, instead of setting aside a ton of time and money for a full on spa day. If I tone down each quality of life I want to strive at, maybe I can find the means to spread them out evenly on my plate. And then everyone, especially me, can be happy.
Now I just need to find the time before work every morning to make my PB&J sandwich.