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On Balance

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I’ll be the first to admit that I take on too much for one person to reasonably handle. I am all in, non-stop, overdrive almost all the time. It’s a personality type that is as capable of destroying as it is creating and that’s a frequency I ride willingly (and I like to think somewhat skillfully). I don’t always find the best ways to harness my energy, and I’ve crashed and burned more times than I can count. But I’ve always been this way and I will, unapologetically, always be this way.

I don’t think this is a better or more right way to operate, but it’d be cool if the rest of the population would stop reacting to the tipping of life’s scales in favor of one passion or another like a disease to be treated.

Like: “Ooh, just take care of yourself, you hear? Get some rest. I worry about you.”

We’re worried about what, exactly? Loss of sleep? Lack of time? Controlling a fire that consumes more than its allotted acreage in your life plan? I’m not buying it.

There’s drive that borders on dangerous compulsion, I know, but there’s also drive that just gets shit done. And it’s ok to have it. Even if it means not having other things.

The way I see it, the fatal flaw in the have-it-all mentality–perfect life! perfect partner! perfect job! perfect wardrobe! perfect home! perfect 8 hours of sleep!–is that the universally defined “all” doesn’t fit every individual’s actual desire. Your all is different than my all is what I’m saying, and so what are we both doing chasing after the same thing? Our attempt to have it all (and to have it in balance) is a losing game. There will always be too much and not enough, and (at least for me) my best everythings come from those extremes.

I can’t decide if imbalance breeds creativity and passion and life or if those things lead to imbalance, but of one thing I am certain: the imbalance is the good stuff.

Imbalance is the falling in love stuff, right? With people, places, passions, projects. It’s this heavy tilt towards something you’re supposed to crash into without regard for whether or not there’s enough time or money or sense or space.

I’m not a reckless person. I like following rules and filling savings accounts and steering clear of deliberate trouble. But god damn, can I get behind some late nights and long drives and leave nothing unsaid kind of living. And there’s no balance there. And that’s fine.

Danielle Laporte says it (and everything else) perfectly:

I no sooner want to be balanced than I want to be a “good” girl. “Balance” is not something I want to live down to.

“If you’re alive, ambitious, or depressed; inventive, in the lead, or rapturous – you are imbalanced. The off-kiltering of your life may make you gasp – in grief or in glory. You could be on the leading edge of your consciousness – thriving. You could be a total mess. Things may need to be put in proper order. Loved ones. Goals. Your well being. Your mental clutter. Your blood pressure. Your Mastercard statement. But… Getting “balanced” is not the remedy to stress. Passion is.”

So this was going to be a post about my dinner but all of this came out instead. It’s 1:30am. I could’ve gone to bed two hours ago but instead this was in my head. I’ll be rushed in the morning. My clothes that are still sitting in the dryer now will be wrinkled. I’ll buy a coffee on the way to work instead of making my own and saving my money. (I’ll buy another one around 3p when I want a nap.) And I won’t feel sorry for myself at all because I traded balance for two hours of something that makes me feel connected and fulfilled and expansive. That works for me.

I can’t have it all; it’s a myth. But giving it all, I’ve found, can be equally satisfying.

9 Comments

  1. YES. This line is so awesome: “Getting “balanced” is not the remedy to stress. Passion is.”
    I’ve been thinking about the idea of “having it all” recently and I’m with you – I think it’s a myth. Unless you’re defining “all” in a very personal, evolving way – not “all” like being the best ever wife/mother/friend/CEO, etc. Something has to give.

  2. Becca Becca

    I love this. It says something I’ve felt for a while. The times in my life when I’ve really aimed for “balance”–parceling out time, energy, money, and calories in perfect measure–well, those are the times that I think I was closest to giving up on living altogether. I always want my life to be a little off. That means you’re discovering things–that you’re actually passionate and involved in the journey.

  3. THANK YOU! After a totally and completely unbalanced, stressful, busy, passionate, fulfilling, exhausting week, I needed to read this

  4. Eva Eva

    You nailed it. occasionally i catch myself working on a project or something but i’m not really there but for some reason i keep slaving myself….. that ingrained sense that we should push through something just to get it done. yes rules are necessary and structure is important but sometimes… if you’re really out of it, just stop. everything will continue as is.

  5. Amy Amy

    Just discovered your blog (and subsequently this post) and holy moly is this not the most truthful thing I’ve ever read. Thank you!

    • Katie Katie

      Thank you, Amy!

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