Wednesday, October 14, 2009

UNBALANCED INDIVIDUAL(S)


Balance does not exist.

It’s a tantalizing fallacy that we all, from time to time, believe is achievable. But it’s not. So you should stop kidding yourself

I have observed and come to terms with the concept that I am completely incapable of giving equal and appropriate amounts of attention to the elements of my life.

Church, husband, dog, work, yoga, sleep, nutrition, family, writing, designing, friends. In order to ensure they are all available when I need to call on them for whatever reason, each of these buckets require my attention and contribution.

At varying degrees and at varying times I tend to each, but it’s generally to the detriment of the other needy bits. Each item will sit on top of my Pile of Importance for a while, receiving the nurturing it requires in order to be functional within my preferred realm, only to eventually be ousted for the priority squashed beneath it.

It’s a constant battle for attention.

Who wins? More often than not it’s work.

Which means that more often than not, church, husband, dog, yoga, sleep, nutrition, family, writing, designing, and friends are the victims of negligence. In turn, that means that when it comes time for me to employ those particular life-elements for the purpose I have assigned them, they either aren’t available or aren’t at useful functionality.

Yoga.

You know that I love my mat. I love to practice and I see immense benefits from my commitment to that art. However, when I’m giving the bulk of my attention to my job, yoga suffers. I skip class to work on a report or plan a program. Sometimes for days or even (gasp!) two weeks at a time.

What does this mean to the life I live? It means that when I realize that I'm suffering without my yoga and my spouse is too, I return to my mat and discover that the practice I had built is gone. The strength, focus and flexibility I had been honing is a mere shadow of that I once enjoyed. I realize this, reconnect to my practice, and watch as my other priorities take their turn dwelling in insignificance.

Husband.

Though I think she’s a horrific and often ignorant bitch, Dr. Laura was right when she said that husbands require care and feeding. Like a horse. It’s a fact of marriage.

And though men have many commonalities due to their gender and innate sensibilities, the kind of care that each husband requires varies. Mine requires physicality (duh) and hours of pillow talk. When I yield my late evenings to the pillow talk my companion thrives on, my office is empty, which translates to my select design clients getting their drafts later than I anticipated and my work emails being answered in the morning. The husband is happy, and that pleases me; but in the back of my brain, I am fretting over my commitments now atrophying.

Do I begrudge my husband the time he needs? Do I loathe participating? Of course not. I love him. I enjoy him. But I simultaneously feel the pressure of my other responsibilities.

Likely due to geographic location, my priority that spends the most time on the bottom of the heap are my friends. I do not have friends here in Reno. I have the beginnings of one friendship, but other than that, all of my flesh friends are in Utah. That’s where my sisters live as do the mates I most enjoy association with.

However, because of my inability to balance this life, association with these pals is less frequent than is healthy for the relationships; and the relationships can therefore find themselves becoming less meaningful. And when something loses meaning for me, even if that loss of importance comes from my own neglect, I observe that inadvertently I begin to separate myself. For if something isn’t nourished like it needs to be, it withers, and in its withering I find it is no longer useful. Thus I apply the scarce resource of my attentions elsewhere.

When I am not giving myself to the pieces of life I care about, they're not there later when I need them.

When I want to write something to entertain you or heal me, if I haven’t been giving my writing some attention, the words aren’t there. There is no flow.

When I want to fit into a certain pair of pants, if I haven’t been giving my nutrition the attention requires, the pants don’t feel good, and I have to resort to my fat pants. Again.

When I need God’s help and I haven’t been giving myself the benefit of prayer and scripture study, I can’t hear the promptings and find spiritual things foreign and sometimes uncomfortable.

When I neglect my dog, she doesn’t give up on me, but I feel a weighty guilt that’s like carting around a rock.

When I want to take on an appealing client or do a baby shower invitation for a friend and I haven’t been spending time at my computer, it takes a few dud concepts before my hands feel comfortable and my creative head turns on.

It’s not that I lack focus or commitment in my life. No, the problem seems to be that I focus too well on one thing at a time—I call it monofocus—and commit too often. A woman who has too much faith in herself and loves too many things.

Could I solidify the priorities of these things I feel most deserve my attention? Spiritually, I probably could. Practically, not a chance. For I am certain that I have the ability to do each well; for not only am I not an under achiever, but I have been blessed with more than my share of talents. That’s not bragging or egocentrism; it’s a fact. The God I believe in granted me skills in more than just a few areas, and I feel it my duty to maximize those gifts even if not with the best of intentions of application.

I could resort to the Bowl Cut Rabid so cleverly put together for herself, but I am unwilling to let any bits go, even if their spot in my life seems to be one of perpetual neglect.

Balance does not exist. Yet still, in fruitless circles, I find myself seeking, experimenting, and failing.

•••

Don’t comment telling me how you found balance in your life. If you say that, you’re a liar. Rather, if you’re going to say something, make it some kind of empathetic condolence, for even if you claim balance, there’s no chance I’ll believe you. I might even delete your comment; honesty feeds me, and farces are a pathetic bore.

17 comments:

Jessica said...

two things:

1. I'm super-awesome at balance. I mean, so awesome.
2. That horrific, ignorant bitch Dr. Laura was at the top of my list to piss and moan about on the 11th of next month! Looks like I need to start a new list.

(p.s. I really tried to give you a "Jessica break" today. It didn't work out.)

meg said...

I don't need a Jessica break. I need a life break. Can you give me one of those?

And keep the bitch on your list. I'm all for some mud-slinging in that direction.

Grrr.

Jessica said...

I've been looking for a life break. Haven't found one. If I do, I'll be happy to share. Even if it only means half a life break for each of us.

I'll keep bitchy Laura on my list. In addition to Dr. Phil and any other person who goes by "Dr." and has a TV show. (not that I have a TV, but they're still on my shit list).

Lars said...

I am laughing at the thought of Jessica trying to give you a break. We both know Megan's post are our cocaine.

Balance is overrated, I am more of a juggler. And I suck at juggling.

Also can we please add Dr. Phil to that mud slinging list?

Lars said...

I didn't see Jessica's second comment before I published....I feel like an ass..

meg said...

Silly little Larsie (yes, I just wrote that). What's asslike in being on the same mental page? Why, nothing at all! You should be thrilled that you and Jessica are getting to the point where your cycles will soon synchronize.

Nat The Rat said...

No such thing as balance, the only thing I've found that works is selective overachieving and secretly enjoying failure. For me failure is like binge eating, feels good at the time but not so much later. And I hate that I agree with Dr. Laura 75% of the time. Gross.

meg said...

Oh well, Nat, at least 75% is a C.

Lars said...

That is hilarious you just wrote that since that is an actual nickname. I am thrilled we are on the same mental page and we have you to thank. I will cuss like a sailor if my cycle synch's up with someone else, the damn thing is cursed as is.

tom lindsey said...

I think you have this whole thing upside down. Don't look at the balanced object, look at what is providing the balance. I guarantee that it is not at rest, or if at rest, boring as hell.

Also consider the time scale. My kids love Arches NP and balanced rock and are always anxious to go back and see if it is still standing (my son tries and knock it over by throwing rocks at it-- much to the annoyance of other park visitors). However, rescale geologic time to human time and it is painfully clear that it is currently in free-fall and will hit the earth soon enough; what once seemed balanced is in reality a flaw in our perception of time.

The final observation is that the 'balancer' must relinquish freedom and actively grant a large measure of control to the object being balanced. I recommend reading Seneca for a short and cogent treatment of the subject [ to provide focus not necessarily prescriptions ]

And on a personal note: I am less inclined to pick up every interesting rock than I once was and now find that tossing a few old neglected stones aside is just as refreshing as pocketing a new one.

cheers

aezra noell said...

hit the spot. i was just talking something similar on my blog. but you put it so well. gosh your better!

Hen Pecks said...

Alternatives to the concept of Balance:

Bowel-ance: regularity

Ball-ance: intimacy

Foul-ance: profanity

Pal-ance: friendship

Towel-ance: cleanliness

Scowl-ance: anger management

Howl-ance: pet awareness

Growl-ance: PMS

Jowl-ance: weight control

Prowl-ance: dating

kathryn said...

Balance... hah! My life and interests are never balanced, probably never will be. I am an all in or all out kinda girl. Recently I have been staying up all hours of the night sewing in my sewing room. I am a married woman and our late night meetings have been lacking lately. But the tables will turn soon enough and I will be complaining about how I never get my sewing done.

Weezie said...

Down with balance! I have none and enjoy sprinting from one activity to another, planning one trip after another, avoiding one phone call or another. I think that's just life and the unbalance helps us enjoy whatever piece we're focusing on for that minute, day, or week.

rabidrunner said...

Balance comes from being genuine, not commitment of time. (Bah! Get a load of moi telling vous 'bout balance.)

In my opinion, if you find that your acts are not genuine, have become fake and flimflam, you'll know that you have lost your balance.

We all know that fake and forgery are against your genetic make-up, however. You're in the clear, babe.

(What does this "I" rating stand for? Insipid? HARDLY! Should be "I" for insightful. Or "I" for interesting or "I" for indubitable. Or "I" for indispensable - for that's what you are!)

meg said...

"I" 'cause it comes out like the disorganized ramblings of a lame mind.

I don't rate me an "I," just the post.

Kim said...

I totally disagree. I'm so good at balancing that when my 7 year old clogged and overflowed the toilet a little bit this week, I just shut the door, declared it a haz-mat zone, ordered everyone to use the other bathroom, and got around to cleaning it two days later. I can handle anything you throw at me with perfect grace!