Is balance even real? I ask myself this question a lot. For the longest time I said no, it’s not real. Balance is an elusive concept destroying the lives of every woman trying to achieve it. But I don’t think that’s right anymore. Things cannot destroy us. It’s us destroying our own lives in desperate pursuit of some idealistic version of the thing where balance means everything is perfect. Where we “have it all.”
What does having it all even mean? My “all” is very different than Rihanna’s “all”, I assume. It’s also very different than my “all” at 17 and my sister’s “all” and probably your “all”, too.
What I’m trying to say is that there are different versions of “all” at different times in our lives. For some women, having it all means marrying a wonderful, supportive guy, buying a home together, getting a dog, and having healthy children. And that’s a lot! That’s so much. Whereas for other women, having it all means jet-setting country to country as a solo-preneur with an online empire and a backpack.
When did we start yielding to the version of balance that says everything is perfectly aligned or that our version isn’t right? When did we start abiding by specific guidelines or definitions that we don’t even actually agree with?
Your version of work-life balance is whatever works for your life, right now. It might change in the future.
Personally, I like to think of work-life balance as an actual balance, one of those old-fashioned scales. It doesn’t always have to be consistently level. It might lean a little bit in one direction but as long as you catch it before it totally drops, you can start to tip it back in the other direction. The key is noticing when it starts to waiver, then coming in with something from the other side to even it out. Always working toward a middle ground.
There is an endless list of things I could probably do to help me feel like a more balanced human like read every night before bed, ignore my inbox until noon, or create better boundaries (I tend to lean towards work — anything other spikes my guilt complex, feels too self-indulgent or like I’m not *doing* enough), which makes me think a large part of this conversation is a highly personal one and lies in whether or not you feel like you deserve to take time for yourself. *Spoiler alert* You do.
So rather than leave you with the 10 steps to beautifully master work-life balance (I don’t think it’s something you really ever master anyway, you’re always working on it), I’m turning the tables over to you. How do you feel about balance? What do you need to integrate more of or less of in your life to feel like a more balanced, whole individual? What is your current version of having it all? Leave your thoughts, words, and wisdom in the comment section below.
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