Finding Balance in Purpose
I remember a time in my life, long ago, as if it were a dream. At the time, my now adult children were just starting school. I was a stay at home Mom, still just fantasizing about becoming an archaeologist.
A specific day and moment of time comes to me. My oldest daughter was taking swimming lessons with her school class. My middle daughter was safe in preschool less than a block away. My youngest was just a toddler happily exploring the area as a bunch of us watched their kids swim.
We chatted as we watched. One of the mothers mentioned a volunteer opportunity at the school. The opportunity had presented itself quite quickly so few volunteers had stepped forward to help. The rest of the conversation was about how each of us hated such surprises because it was hard to fit extra things into our already busy schedule.
I agreed wholeheartedly. Then, I said if they would have given me two weeks, I could have fit it in. I can do pretty much anything if you give me a two week window.
The room got extremely quiet and everyone looked at me like I was an alien. At the time, I didn’t quite understand why they thought that was such a strange statement. Of course, now, I completely understand.
Trying to Replicate that Balance
In the years since that point, my life has changed a lot but I’ve always looked to find that balance. At times, I wondered if that were even possible. After all, much of my life since that point has been about chaos, pain, and just plain being overwhelmed.
I’ve examined that period of time and have noticed something interesting. Even back then my life was busy. I remember very clearly being bone tired after a long day of chasing around kids. I even remember my husband coming home and wondering why I was so completely exhausted.
So I think my balance was less about not having so much to do each day and more about how I felt about what I did do. Frankly, I was organized because I had to be to survive. I ran the house like a homeschool. We were constantly busy and the kids were always learning, playing, and on the go. But it was more than just making good use of my time. It was that I felt that what I did mattered. That I was doing the best I could for my kids at that point in time. Whatever, I went through was then worth the time, effort, and even the sacrifices.
Obviously, over the years that “doing the right thing” has changed. Once my kids were in school, I found it very difficult. Although I could still find more than enough to do each day, I lacked purpose and found myself becoming quite depressed. I beat myself up a lot mentally and frankly felt quite stuck in my life. It was then that I moved on to a career in archaeology and eventually writing about whole health to find myself (and balance) once again.