A table with even legs will be steady and balanced so long as it is standing on a flat surface. While living a balanced life and being in balance are admirable goals, realistically there will be very few times, if ever, all the legs of your life will be even or that you will be standing steadily on a flat, steady surface.
That is not to say striving towards balance is an unworthy goal. It is an extremely worthy goal. With balance comes a sense of wholeness, a completeness if you will. It's as if all the parts of you have decided to come together to enjoy one another's company, rather than compete for which part is more important or which part can garner more of your attention.
Looking at balance from the angle of a toddler's eating habits offers insights into achieving and maintaining the coveted centered, steadiness balance implies.
As toddlers begin their quest for autonomy, they are known for their mono diet stage. One day they eat only corn on the cob. For a week the only item they are willing to consume is peanut butter on crackers. From there they might switch to broccoli, cottage cheese with raisins, or even corn chips.
First time parents, in their quest and concern for "doing it right," often worry about such behavior, whereas pediatricians and parents of a second, third, or fourth child take this in stride. The reason is the latter know the balance of the toddler's eating habits is measured over time, not on a daily or weekly basis. And, over time the eating habits will settle into a routine.
By viewing your life as a circle, with the inside divided by pie lines, squiggles, blobs, or doodles balance is achieved by engaging all the parts of you circle. During different periods of your life, you will focus on different things. A twenty-something's quest for balance is far different than a seventy-something's. A student's balance different from a parent's
Even when things are at the there most hectic and you feel you are focusing far more than its fair share of your energy to one part of your life, remember:
*Balance does not require the same amount of energy, focus, etc. on each aspect of your life.
*Your life is in flux. (This too shall pass.)
*Even if you can't devote as much time as you want to other areas of your life, if you can give them a smidgeon of acknowledgment you will feel exponentially better.
If you're putting in extra hours at the office, breaking away for even a 10-15 minute walk around the block will do wonders. Try arranging to meet your children or special someone for a quick afternoon break. If you power walk to the meeting all the better.
* A worthy goal was offered by Epicurus thousands of years ago, "Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance."