One of my biggest goals is to achieve balance in life – even as I realize this is impossible. Being successful in one area of life inevitably means another is suffering to some degree. However, this doesn’t mean I am giving up on the idea. The more realistic goal is to bring more balance into my life by remembering my priorities and remaining aware that not everything in life can be given full attention concurrently. (I am only human after all.)
You can have it all. Just not at once. ~Oprah Winfrey
I learned the effect of a lack of balance the hard way. It took a lightning bolt to get my attention. I was feeling a lot of pressure and giving 110% at work for an unusually extended period, all the while feeling guilty about not spending enough time with my children and family, not being able to keep up at home, and not devoting adequate attention to my faith life or my personal well-being. This led to a lot of stress and a sense of dissatisfaction at work, which contributed to my anxiety, and cumulated in a nervous breakdown.
The benefit of this terrible experience was that it compelled me to reevaluate the direction of my life. I made a choice to change careers and take steps to move toward balance in my life. I cannot let the scales tip too far in the direction of something that is not truly a priority, however urgent it seems at the time. While this may be unavoidable on occasion, allowing it to become a habit can have great consequences. Not only do the other priorities suffer, but so may one’s well-being, along with one’s family. Understandably, it can be difficult to keep this in mind while in the throes of something that is demanding immediate attention, but making a practice to maintain focus on the significant things in life is worth the effort.
While I never wish to go through such an experience again, I am grateful that it has led to positive changes in my life. Additionally, it spotlighted how caring and supportive my friends and family are and made me appreciate them all the more. My hope is that I will continue to move in this direction, and continue to improve my life and the lives of those around me.
In a nutshell, your life and the lives of those around you will be enhanced if you have realistic expectations, don’t compromise your well-being, forgive yourself, focus on the significant things, and find the courage to make essential changes in your life.