by Suzanne Reisler Litwin
Is it getting harder to balance life these days? Or is it just me? There seems to be more and more things to do, emails to answer, calls to make, and appointments to attend. Or is it just me? Perhaps, the strive for a balanced life is off set by the rapidity of time.
It’s Monday and Tuesday and then it’s suddenly Friday! How does this keep happening? The moment Christmas is finished, it seems like summer talk begins. What about the 6 months in between? And…don’t get me started with birthdays. How in the world did I get to my mid 50’s? I swear I was just 42 or maybe 37. I was just there!
Yesterday, I thought my niece was turning 5 years old. She’s almost 7! For God’s sake, she was just born! It’s got to be me. I’m the one not able to hold on to time. My inability to hold on to time is causing me difficulty in obtaining a life’s balance. I feel like time is rushing me along.
So, I asked some of my friends and family about their life’s balance. Specifically I asked, Do you have a balance in your life? If you do or don’t, briefly explain it to me. Every friend had a different perspective on their life’s balance.
Here are some of their life’s balance perspectives:
Dorit, “When I think of balance, I think of yoga. Balance is not an endpoint. You don’t just find balance, and then you’re done. Balance is a practice, a work in progress.
Noonie, “Balance is getting all my ducks in a row.”
Lucy, “Balance is not really something you have or don’t have, it’s something like a pendulum. It recalibrates all the time depending on life situations. Balance is what I do for me vs others. Career vs family. I am striving to regain this balance.”
Ellen, “I am able to balance myself only when I’m aware of its absence. The stories that I read, allow me to recalibrate the compass that we all share.”
Taylor, “I have a good life balance between work and school. However, it could be better if I was able to play golf all year long.”
Therese, “I balance life when I enjoy the simple things.”
Miriam, “The longer life is the more balance I find.”
When I first posed the questions to my friends and family some responded with, “Let me think about this as, I don’t know the right answer.” My response was, there is no right answer. It is a feeling and/or an awareness. Perhaps, the difficulty in answering the question was how to summarize and express it.
A few friends told me that they used my question as a conversation prompt with their own family. They asked their family the question and this started interesting dialogue and introspection.
I’ve thought about my life’s balance more. Yes, I did mention that I find time is rushing me and it’s hard to find the balance due to this. However, I thought about my younger self, when I questioned my existence in the world. By nature, I am a very spiritual person, not religious, but spiritual.
Many years ago, I struggled with obtaining healthy pregnancies. I was between the ages of 27 to 37. I was having more unhealthy pregnancies than healthy ones. I think my ratio was 7:3. Life wasn’t fair at the time. I questioned myself, my place in the world, and my struggles. One day, I went to the top of a mountain and I asked God, “Why are there so many imbalances in my life?” Days following that afternoon, the answer popped into my mind. I suddenly had a new awareness, an epiphany.
The answer had to do with the exchange of giving and taking. From that day onward, to obtain my life’s balance, there had to be a balance with giving and taking. We are not here to just take everything. To eat, drink, consume, absorb, to earn, to spend, to have, to go, to do, etc. This is now my mantra…
Whatever we are given, we must give back.
Once we do this, there will be a balance. For example, if someone gives you a compliment, you need to give someone a compliment. If someone gives you a smile, you need to give someone a smile. If you are given a gift, give someone a gift. If you are given good luck in your life, be that good luck in someone else’s life.
You don’t need to find this balance as a tit for tat, or a direct exchange. It can be anything. For example, if you win an award, you do not have to give someone else an award. You might consider giving your time to a charity.
Being able to identify you’re receiving and balancing it, is the eye opener. After that day on top of the mountain where I questioned my life’s balance, I looked for all my life’s receiving’s. I realized all I was given and the need to give back to the world.
That’s when I made a deal with God. In my mind I said, “For whatever you give me, I will give back. For this fair exchange, please give me life’s balance.”
Now, I have my balance.
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. She is a writing instructor at The Cummings Centre. She writes a weekly column in The Suburban Newspaper and at the West Island Blog. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban Newspaper, West Island Blog, Wise Women Canada, The Metropolitain, and Women on the Fence. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. Visit suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.