I have a year of tough priorities ahead. So much to accomplish and very little time (mainly because of a sweet and chubby little one). It will be a continous lesson in saying no. Family and work, there won’t be room for much else.

That’s ok. I don’t believe much in balance anymore. I don’t believe life is meant to come evenly portioned. I don’t think ”evenly” is applicable to life.

That tiresome life puzzle. The fidgeting and fretting, trying to make everything fit. The dream of managing and balancing all the different parts we want our lives to consist of. That kind of balance is a myth and a fantasy. It’s just the old dream of having everything at once, in slightly different wording. The dream of not having to choose.

We’re so easily seduced by the idea of ourselves on top of life, of days filled to the brim with everything – the right people, the right activities, the right stuff – our energy perfectly distributed, and no stress. It can be done. Right? We can do it, if we only find the balance.

It’s a fantasy.

And we never ever make it. A moment here and there the construction seem to hold together, we balance on top of it, afraid to draw breath in case we cause it all to collapse. Which it does, inevitably.

The striving for balance causes so much stress – the very same stress it claims to relieve us from. It creates a constant feeling of not enough-ness, of not being where we are supposed to be.

Like little squirrels we claw our way through life in our efforts to make it work. The prize we pay is that nothing ever gets to be wholehearted. That we never fully succeed, never fully commit, and never truly rest.

I quit that race now. No more striving.

Life happens in rushes and pushes. It overwhelmes and it slows into deep rest. It’s a firework and the smooth surface of a pond. And it’s very unevenly portioned, just like our energy.

It’s not manageable, but then we don’t have to manage it.

We can respond instead of trying to control. We can dive into whatever we do, focus wholeheartedly on whatever is in front of us. Then we need to recover. Then our family needs us. The body needs tending. Which means we’ll have to pause some other area for a while. It’s a dance. It’s improv all the way.

When trying to bring a dream to life, whether it’s writing a book or building a business, we might need to downsize our social life for a while. Maybe we’ll eat take-out every day of the week, maybe we won’t travel at all that year. Probably won’t do the kitchen re-make. We must allow ourselves the freedom to choose like that. That kind of prioritizing is what we must ask of ourselves if life is to grow beyond a half-finished puzzle.

I’m tired of well-groomed lifestyle ambitions. How about we take our cue from somewhere else instead, from people who dared to want their own version of life, and dared risk something in order to live it. Who prioritised what feels good over what looks good. Who went ahead and did their thing, regardless.

Nothing truly great has ever come out of a manageble, neatly balanced life, and I want great. I want wholehearted.

The reward comes in depth and passion. In the kind of presence that is the only real remedy for stress anyway.

 


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