Balance: My Choose-o-Meter

By Shae Hadden

I’ve had some further insights since my last post about Balance.

No matter what the extent of my commitments, I see ‘balance’ as my ability to be ‘grounded’ and ‘present’. In each moment, I’m doing what I’m doing…and just that. Nothing else. The whole idea of ‘balancing work and life’, as if they are polar opposites, makes no sense to me.

Life is everything I experience.

Work is what I choose to label as work. Pleasure is what I label as ‘play’. Both work and play are made up of the actions I take as I live.

Balancing actions and life is a useless line of inquiry…they are not equal and never can be.

For me, ‘personal’ time is another non-sense concept … time is wholly ‘personal’. Every moment of my life is my time, my life. Most people think of ‘personal time’ as time spent relaxing, playing, resting. According to that definition, what it comes down to is what activities we choose to label as ‘playful’, ‘relaxing’ or ‘restful’ versus what activities we label as ‘work’. If we want to achieve some sense of balance (if there is such a thing) between activities associated with ‘work’ and ‘play’, we must consciously choose what we are doing in each moment and then accept our choices and not wrestle with the ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of what we are doing. Making ourselves feel guilty about what we are doing or what we are not doing serves no purpose other than to feed our suffering.

Personally, I’ve been very good at laying a ‘guilt trip’ on myself. Having a meaning for my life drives me ever onward…as if I were a perpetual motion machine. Part of my confusion has come from my assessment that many aspects of my work are ‘play’ and that being in conversation with extraordinary people is simultaneously relaxing and enlivening. And I’m just beginning to understand that perhaps I haven’t had any control over my choosing.

As a reformed workaholic, the best I can do for now is enlist the support of my friends and family to remind me of my choices when I forget. For now, I surrender to the needs of my body and soul with exercise, sleep and regular walks in Nature. And I’ll keep thinking about balance regularly—for it helps me keep tabs on myself and is a way to assess whether I’m still choosing. Balance is my ‘Chooseometer’!

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