How have the last few weeks been?
A long undefined break from the usual?
More time to yourself?
More time to assess?
A better view of things?
More time to kill?
Like a punishment?
The list can go on and on.
Many would agree that often we think of taking a break from our routine life and go somewhere to slow down, to revisit a few aspects of our lives and to recharge ourselves (mentally and physically).
Well, many of us are on kind of a break! So what’s the difference then?
The difference is, while one comes from a place of freedom (pre-planned, controlled and defined), the other (current) one is imposed, with no visible deadline. Suddenly it feels like many of us have lost control over our lives (did we actually have any, well that’s for another day). Right now, we don’t know what the next week or even the next day has for us. It seems like life has lost its purpose OR is it taking a pause to find a new one!?
One can anticipate and speculate OR one can accept and try to make something out of it. I have periods of both; not just once a day but every few hours. Yeah!
This piece comes from ‘trying to make something out of it’ and a random exchange of the word ‘balance’ during a conversation.
Reality is always messier and less flattering than fiction, but, often in some way enriching; in terms of experiences, learnings and realizations.
Amidst these times wrapped under anxiety and uncertainty, maybe the universe is giving us a chance to reevaluate ourselves. Perhaps, some time to understand ourselves better. Revisit our fundamental selves without all the facade. What we’ve been chasing for a while might need to be re-looked at. Maybe our barometer of a happy and successful life needs to be re-calibrated. Pause and think, about things that really matter!
What (balance) seems to have lost, a chance to understand it better and try to gain that again.
All these thoughts raise a question in my mind – before this vagary of life, which came out from nowhere, was I actually leading a balanced life OR was I in the pursuit of one?
A step further back.
Do I know what a balanced life looks like?
Do I have a definition?
Is there a template, should I follow one?
Should I create one?
And folks, I am not thinking just about my work and personal life balance. I am thinking about everything I do or want to do. Everything I wanted to have by now and all the things I don’t have. To be precise, about how I spend my days and nights.
With all these unsettling thoughts, I want to explore the concept of a ‘balanced life’.
What would a ‘balanced life’ look like for me?
When I think of either using an existing template or creating one, a simple thought comes to my mind. When even a balanced diet is different for each one of us, well we are talking about a much broader concept here!
So apparently the answer is, I should create one. (that was easy!)
But to create one, I need to understand the meaning of a ‘balanced life’ in the first place. Who will provide me with that? Well, if I use the same browser that everyone else has used, to search the meaning of a balanced life, there will be a cache of assumptions and a ready definition to go with. This just sounds unfair to me. I was given a different color palette, to begin with. My experiences and learnings are different from everyone. My journey has not been like anyone else’s (mostly), and thus I need to have my own definition of ‘a balanced life’.
Ah! Only if it was that easy. Well, brain! Seems this was just a warm-up for you, ha! We need to dig deeper here.
So when I try to understand the concept further, I reckon that a ‘balanced life’ is so individualistic in nature, the aspects which make it too need to come from a very personal space. And after much deliberation and thinking of what all would contribute to my template of a balanced life, I get to these three:
What do I believe in?
What do I stand for?
What and who all are my priorities?
How do I like to spend my time, money and effort?
Are my choices in line with my higher purpose in life?
Given the lines are increasingly getting blurred between multiple domains of life (self, family, work), am I able to be in control of my preferred boundaries?
Am I able to draw lines against expectations and commitment levels?
Am I able to say no (to others and myself) and close the doors when required to?
Are my boundaries in line with my set priorities?
Am I abiding by the boundaries I have set for myself?
Am I standing up to my choices?
Am I following through my decisions?
None of these, however, will fall into a mould and will not be the same in different time frames either. These would need a re-calibration once in a while. But every time I would work on these per my set of ideologies and school of thought I believe in, I hope to be a step closer to my definition of a balanced life. It might not contain all that is there or have everything throughout, but more often than not, (I believe) it will be seasoned according to my taste.
In the end, after all this contemplation and exercise, I get to the single end goal of a balanced life – to be in peace and harmony with myself; wherever I am and whatever I do. And I believe, one can achieve that not by picking someone else’s template but creating one for self.
It is better to rise from life as from a banquet – neither thirsty nor drunken – Aristotle
What does your balanced life look like? Do you have a template of your own? Do the above three factors contribute to your life as well?