My son’s best friend’s older brother was a very precocious child and some of the things that he said would astonish me. When he was about 6, he informed me that I shouldn’t be letting my son and his brother play on a make-shift teeter-totter because “the fulcrum wasn’t centered.” He was correct; it wasn’t centered, but because I was older and a bit wiser, I knew that it didn’t have to be precisely balanced to be safe.
I often think about that when I consider finding the balance between work, personal, and family. It isn’t always a matter of having the fulcrum perfectly aligned, but it is important to find a safe balance.
Of course, that sounds very good when you read it, but it’s much harder in real life. People and projects have a way of taking as much time and energy as you are willing to give them. And the squeaky wheel really does get the grease a lot of the time.
Here are some the questions I've been asking myself this January:
Work: Can I separate your home life from my work? Do I spend all my time either at work or thinking about work? Or conversely, do I try to get by doing as little as possible and cut as many corners as possible?
Personal: We are taught to be self-sacrificing, but sometimes we forget that we have to have something to sacrifice. Even Jesus went off by himself or with friends for renewal. He wasn’t always at everyone’s beck and call. Do you take time every day for myself? Even if it’s reading the paper with a cup of coffee or spending an extra 2 minutes in the shower, it’s important to give myself permission to have a slice of the day.
Family: This is a tough one for most of us because it never seems like we are giving our families enough time or enough quality time. I really struggle with this because my mother is in hospice and while she is slowly making her journey to the end of life, it is a slow journey. Nevertheless, I often fell that I should be with her 24/7, even though that simply isn't possible.
I wish I could offer you a neat formula for achieving these balances, but like the off-center fulcrum that I knew was still workable, finding that balance is something you have to do for yourself.
Just like I have to do.