Friday, April 06, 2007

Life Balance Meme

David Bowles of Writing the Westward Sagas tagged me and four others to participate in a Life Balance Meme. The instructions are:

Answer any or all of the following questions or simply share your thoughts about life balance.
How do you achieve balance in your life?
What is your biggest challenge in balancing your life?
What are your priorities?
How have your priorities changed over time and why?
What advice can you share to help all of us balance our own lives?

I've had to put some extra time in thought before writing this post. My first reaction was that I was the last person that ought to be writing about life balance. After all, I am a genealogist by avocation, and spend far too much time thinking, reading, blogging, and researching each day about genealogy (ask my family!). I tend to have a lot of irons in the fire (I think in my case I have many fires, each with too many irons), and life more than occasionally overwhelms me with its demands on me as a wife, mother, homemaker, employee, volunteer, and genealogist.

The more I've thought about it, however, the more I've realized that my sometimes harried life really does have its own sense of balance. I have chosen to follow my passion, that of telling my ancestors' stories and helping others to do the same. So my priorities have fallen into place.

In my primary job, I work with mentally and physically disabled students. One of the things they're being taught in Health and Fitness (P.E.) is juggling. In this activity, we juggle first with scarves, then with juggle balls (actually small, cube-shaped beanbags). Some of our students are learning how to throw with one hand and catch with the other. Some have moved to throwing two balls simultaneously, criss-crossing them mid-air, and catching them with the opposite hand that threw them. The more advanced students have begun to juggle with three balls. I'm learning along with them, and right now, I can juggle three balls for about five tosses before I lose track and they either all fall down, or I catch them in desperation and out of sequence. I've started to realize that juggling requires more than quick reflexes and visual tracking. It's more of an intuitive process. If I try to keep track of each ball with my eyes so that my hands can follow through, I end up fumbling. However, if I find a rhythm and simply "go with the flow,' I increase the length of my juggling act a little longer.

In the same way, if I focus too much on the details in my daily life, it gets overwhelming (especially since I'm a perfectionist!). I have had to learn, time and time again, to simply find my rhythm and go with the flow; not "sweat the small stuff," but look at the big picture. It isn't easy; I have to remind myself every day; sometimes several times a day. I'm not a patient person, least of all with myself. But I have found that life balances out well when I simply pick up and try again, and leave the perfectionism and detail-obsession for when I'm doing my genealogy, where it really matters!

I'm supposed to tag five others to write about and in turn pass along this meme. I hereby tag:
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