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  • Writer's pictureLacy Starling

#30: It's not About Balance. It's About Balancing.

At the gym, I often do single-leg exercises. I'll do single-leg deadlifts, or single-leg ball slams, or single-leg toe touches with an overhead reach. (My trainer is sadistic that way.) When I'm doing them, the goal is, simply, to not touch my other leg to the floor. Some days, it isn't pretty—my arms and lifted leg windmill around, seeking balance so I don't touch my toes (or my entire body) to the floor. My trainer and I both understand that I'm not going to be some perfectly still zen master while I'm slamming a 20-pound medicine ball onto the floor, standing on one leg. I'm going to wobble and tilt and tip and sometimes, I'm going to have to touch that other foot to the floor. The important thing, though, is that I touch that foot to the floor for the least amount of time possible, and then I pick it up and start again.

Life's a lot like this, too. Most of the time, we're all trying to slam some sort of metaphorical medicine ball into the ground, over and over, while only using one metaphorical leg. Maybe we're trying to work from home while our kids are doing distance learning. Maybe we're caring for an aging parent and raising young kids. Maybe we're launching a new business while still working a day job. Maybe we're trying to keep the spark alive in our relationship while being trapped in a house all day with our kids, aging parents and partner.

Whatever it is, we're all wobbling, tilting and windmilling our (metaphorical) arms and legs all day, just trying to stay upright. It is in those moments when it is important to remember that it isn't about staying perfectly balanced and still all the time. It is actually about balancing. It's about making the adjustments that need to be made, all day, every day, to keep ourselves upright. Sometimes your self care gets lifted up, sometimes your kids do. Sometimes you have to put more effort into your parents, and sometimes your partner needs more of your attention. Life is a constantly shifting framework of priorities, and you are doing your best to balance them in the moment.

Thinking we're going to be some kind of perfectly still zen master in the face of all these challenges is insane, and detrimental to the accomplishments we are actually making. At the end of the day, are you still upright? Maybe you touched your (metaphorical) foot to the floor 40 times today, but did you keep picking it up and re-balancing yourself? Then you did exactly what you were supposed to do. And maybe you ended the day with both feet on the floor in total exhaustion. You and I both know you are going to get up tomorrow morning, pick up one of those feet and start slamming that (metaphorical) medicine ball again.

It's not about balance. It's about balancing.


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