Finding a balance

Photo courtesy of James Temby (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of James Temby (Creative Commons)

I have a friend who just got married, one who is working through her Life Plan, and another who just received a devastating health diagnosis. As I experience the ebb and flow of emotions related to each of the events in the lives of my dear friends, I struggle to find a balance in my own life.

How much do you focus on the future and vision and dreams? It’s important to have something to work toward and strive for but you can’t always have your head up in the clouds. Events like a marriage and developing your Life Plan are certainly forward-looking activities, and you get caught up in the excitement of leaning into your future.

On the other hand, a difficult illness can mean you face a limited future, so that brings a different meaning to planning and vision. Suddenly those things you saw far off but still achievable may not be, and you may tend to focus too much on the disease and treatment and not relish the time you do have left.

The idea of living in the present and enjoying the moment is something I’m struggling with quite a bit. Maintaining the balance of the everyday – walking a tightrope of work and worries and yet finding a way to also live in the moment is an elusive goal. I find myself mindlessly moving from task to task many days, checking things off the list and moving toward the next thing. At the end of the day, I often can’t tell you what I even did, and when I think back to find a “happy” – I can’t always. That’s not a good situation. No one knows how long they have left, and how sad to have been so busy on the grind that you miss the joys of life.

It’s tough when you have day-to-day drudgery, you know the things like the routines at work, paying the bills, chores and obligations. It’s often hard to find pleasure in those things, and yet life can’t always be a vacation. How do you keep from feeling overwhelmed? How do you find bright spots?

I am seeking ways to continue to get the things done that have to, and yet find some pleasure or joy in the act. Maybe it’s taking a moment to connect with someone new at work, or even to stop and hug an old friend and reconnect. Maybe it’s noticing the sunrise, or taking a break to phone a family member you haven’t spoken to in a while just to say hi. Or just spending some time reading for pleasure.

Being intentional is the only way I know to find that balance between the worries and the wonderful.

How do you walk that tightrope of grind and happy?