My Elusive Quest for Balance

At the beginning of every New Year, at the beginning of every semester, at every birthday, with every clean new journal—at any milestone I could possibly turn into the “clean slate” I deemed necessary for achieving “balance”—I made my resolutions: to be organized, productive, to have routines for me and my family that would keep us all happy and on-track. I would find a new system and I would buy all the supplies it required (usually involving a trip to the office supply store, which I justified because this time it was going to stick and I really needed all of these notebooks and file folders and multi-colored sticky pads and graph paper and sharpies and…). I would spend hours setting things up, making calendars and color-coded to-do lists and chore wheels and weekly menus.  

Every time I was convinced that this was it, this was the ticket to a whole new me: my back straight, my eyes forward, my arms floating gracefully out to each side, my toes pointed, gingerly stepping and stepping and stepping along the tightrope, each foot perfectly placed, nary a misstep or a wobble, oblivious to the precipitous fall below me because this time, I would find my balance. This time, I would get it right.

And yet, inevitably, within weeks, sometimes mere days, I would wobble, I would take a wrong step—one night I would be too tired to do the dishes, and the following morning the mess in the kitchen would feel overwhelming, so I would have no energy at all to make my bed, so I would decide to just get back in it instead of grading the stack of papers piled on my desk, and when I woke up again I would be late for the appointment I had already rescheduled several times and so I would throw my pajamas on the floor and try three different outfits none of which were right and all of which lay across the bed where I tossed them as I finally rushed out the door feeling sloppy and harried and late.

Can anyone relate?

Just one wobble, just one misstep, one glimpse of the dizzying fall to abject failure that awaited me when I hit the ground, and I would decide to just get off the rope altogether. No more tight-rope walking for me! I was just not cut out to be organized and productive, competent and content.

The next New Year or birthday? The next fresh, clean, empty Moleskine and brand-new set of fine-tipped pens? You got it: hope springs eternal.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, in which I explain “balance with a beat” and why in 2019, my only resolution is no more resolutions!