The Life Balance Illusion

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What does it really mean to live a balanced life? Does it mean you spend equal amounts of time every day/week/month in 5 different areas of your life? Does it mean that for every hour you work outside the home, you spend an hour with your kids? Does it mean that for every week you spend working, you spend a week not working? Does a balanced life really exist??

What I’ve discovered is that, for me, a balanced life (the way it’s traditionally been defined) is an illusion. If you think about it, any object you try to keep balanced is not moving. Not forward, not backward. Not sideways. It’s just not moving! Or if it moves at all, it stays in a tight little box – never upsetting the status quo! For me life isn’t about keeping everything the same…not moving…it’s not about balance. It’s about movement and growth.

I choose to live a life that’s constantly moving, changing and growing. It makes me happy. Living life in a tight little box? Not so much. Sometimes I’m really good at creating opportunities for change and personal growth myself…you know, the kinds of choices you have some control over…how and where I work and live, who I spend my time with, how I want to see the world…

And then sometimes the Universe throws me a curve ball that REALLY makes me go WAY out of my comfortable little box. Because even when I’m choosing those other opportunities for change and growth, I’m still choosing experiences where I can imagine the outcome and usually have some idea how to get there.

This summer I had one of those “curve ball” experiences. I had some blood work done – not because I thought anything was wrong, but just to see where my base levels were at this time in my life. A week later, I had a diagnosis of diabetes. I was told the disease was advanced enough that it was unlikely that I could reverse it by changing diet, exercise and lifestyle and that I needed medication. Wow – talk about being thrown off balance! I know what you’re thinking…I like my life off balance – what a great opportunity! Well, maybe you’re not thinking that…but after a couple of days, that’s exactly what I thought.

But those first couple of days were brutal. I felt like a failure. I felt like some weird, foreign thing was going on inside my body. I spent an entire day talking to friends who know a lot about healing diseases and illnesses. I researched on the internet. And I made some decisions.

In the end, I chose to be grateful for this new opportunity to create a new kind of balance in my life and body. I began looking at every part of my life – family, business, relationships. I removed stress in every area I could – and created a plan to deal with the rest. I changed how I eat. I changed how I exercise. I have a pretty positive outlook on the world, but I worked on that too. I gave myself 3 months to “get clean” before I agreed to go on medication. After 5 weeks, I started testing my blood sugar…and I’ve gotten “normal” results for the past two weeks. In November I’ll take another blood test that will tell me more definitively how successful my changes have been.

Life Balance? For me, life balance has a new definition. It’s about living in the “now” while taking care of the future. I knew I was at risk for diabetes and I didn’t take all the steps I could have to prevent this. I’m not the kind of person who lives with lots of regrets. I don’t look at the past and wish I could have done things differently. I’m living in the “now.” And I’m taking care of myself for the future.

Today, think about how you’re living in the “now” and what you’re doing to take care of the future. Whether it’s your business, your relationships, your mental and physical health…or the environment. What could you do today to live more in the “now?” What one thing could you do today to take care of your future?

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