There are times in my life when I work in overdrive. I give it my all for days or sometimes weeks at a time to get a major project done. My motivation comes from having a deadline, and combine that with the fact that I truly hate to lose, you end up with me working for every waking minute, while ignoring some of the other necessities. Projects around the house get sidetracked, sleep goes to the minimum I need to function, and I live at my computer.
It can be tough, but I also love to revel in the glory of truly giving your all for something. The downside is that when it’s all over with and the project is done, it can take some time to recharge and get my energy levels back to normal. Some people thrive on the energy roller coaster in life as they move from project to project, but sometimes balance is the key to success in the long run. Maybe it’s better to work at a moderate level continuously, and ensure that other areas of your life are taken care of. It’s the old tortoise and the hare experiment. The short bursts of the hare get it ahead, but the tortoise is there for the long run, eventually winning. I firmly believe that no one is truly a tortoise in life, even though we constantly try to be.
Many people naturally feel that life is supposed to be about routine. After all, human beings are creatures of habit, and are excellent at finding and creating patterns in our own life and in the world around us. But what is often the case is that we have a real disconnect between our ideas and what really happens, and we need constant reminders to ensure we stay focussed and happy.
Its always been true of carrying out a goal. We falter, have highs, lows, very-lows, and at the very end, after facing the storm, we come out on top. If this is the way the world is, how can we ever truly achieve balance? Why would we ever strive to keep things regular and routine? Why would we try to make our lives as regular and boring as possible? Because it’s safe. There is safety in routine, there is stability in regularity, and there is no stress or anxiety in sameness.
However, as an optimist, I have to believe that you can have your cake and eat it too. You can feel like life is balanced, while still enjoying the ups and downs that are thrown at you. It’s because balance doesn’t mean 50% work and 50% play, and it doesn’t even mean 8 hours of work, 8 of play, and 8 of sleep for your day. Balance is more about your energy and mood than anything else. It’s about finding the right ratios of work, and play, and fun, and passion project, and sleep, and family time, and eating, and cleaning, and everything else you need to do.
Balance is finding a way to make sure you can have it all, consistently. You can keep everything going indefinitely, because you have just enough energy. Sometimes it even means saving a little bit extra for those curve balls that life sends your way. And trust me, there will be curve balls. things will happen out of the blue and they will throw the wrench in the engine and mess up your entire routine. If everything falls apart, maybe you don’t have the balance you need. But a well balanced individual will always find a way to fit in the extra unknown and still manage the usual routines. They will have the extra time and energy stored up to face the new challenge, and when it’s done, they will still have the energy to go back to the day-to-day tasks.
To get there, to this utopia of combined tortoise and hare living, it takes practice. It takes an understanding of your own needs and desires, and endless testing and retesting to finely tune the variables and find the sweet spot.
Just know that balance is possible even though life is a roller coaster. It is difficult, no question, but when you get to that place, even for a little while, everything feels good. You will truly feel fulfilled.