Once upon a time I used to be a girl who lived her life by a to do list. Each night I had a list of at least 10 things, sometimes more, that I would power through. Some times, things would shift from day to day, but mostly I set myself up to be a productive person. It helped when Cowboy was out of town working, to alleviate the stress and anxiety because I had a plan for when I got home of what I would do, what needed my attention, and as long as I had that, I could not think about how I missed him. Bonus I felt super productive.
It helped me learn how to take action and do things on my own. How to be self sufficient and do the hard things, the things like call my credit card, or make a doctors appointment. How to fix something if it was broken, like a faucet. Put up a new coat of paint. If it was on the list, it had to get dealt with.
But it came to a point where i felt all I was, was a to do list. There where other pressures in life as well, and eventually I had to back off. I had to let go, and I had to learn to be kinder to myself, less driving. It was okay if I put an evening of reading a book on there. That was no less productive than making sure I went to the gym, walked my dogs, and cleaned the house top to bottom.
Eventually I ditched that to do list.
I loved it.
This was the me, I needed to be at the time. Kinder to myself. More forgiving. Less driving.
But then, disorganization and chaos. Things started to pile up again, and my anxiety started to rear it’s ugly head. It started to get nervous about doing things, that I had previously conquered, like doctors appointments, and calling credit cards about stuff. It started to want me to hide, and be less of the confident capable woman I know I can be.
We talk a lot about balance in life and finding it. And I feel a lot like i am on a teeter-totter. On this end, I am to driving, and I feel worn out, on the other end, I am too lax, and I let my anxiety rule me, shoving my head further and further into the sand.
Life does not contain Balance. This is a lie we tell ourselves, as we chase this illusion. There is no magic formula. We will not have perfect lives. All we have is right here, right now, and we have to do the best we can with that, and make plans for the future, but also be kind to ourselves, knowing that life changes.
I’m giving up the search for balance. I’m figuring out how to do me right now.
I still use a mental to do list before I go into work each day. This helps me get prepared for the day and I know what projects ideally I would like to work on, taking into consideration that my day can shift at any point, because that’s what customer service is about.
I’m getting back to the personal to do list, but finding ways to be kinder, more gentle about it. Finding ways to break things down so they get done, and I can feel productive, but also giving myself enough leeway to have free time. It’s not perfect. Sometimes things will go on there, that don’t end up fitting with how the day rolls out. But in the end, I need my to do list, more than I don’t need it. I just have to remember to put read a book on it, and mean it.
Stop chasing the illusion of balance. This is a lie. Be the you you need to be right now. Sometimes that means being hard on yourself. And sometime that means being kind to yourself. But remember that you need both in your life, and that seesawing around is 100% normal.
We are a series of ups and downs. Learn to embrace that, and work with it, and forgive yourself, and push yourself.
We are not balance.