The Elusive Balance

I read a post by the very lovely Kimberley Smith (aka @Miss_Kimberlina) over on her blog Dream.Delight.Inspire yesterday.Kim discussed balance and how to work toward it in your life. She suggested writing a list of the key elements in your life and rating how you feel about where you're at with each. I really like this idea, but for me it has its shortfalls.

Now, don't get me wrong. I really love Kim. I love her blog, I respect her views a great deal and I find her approach to life extremely inspiring. Plus she is a lovely girl.

But I've been thinking more about this. I have previously gone through the process that Kim outlined in her post, rating where I feel I'm at with each important area of my life. And I like doing this because I really like goal setting. I find the process really cathartic. I like planning, I like order, I like aiming for things - even if they're entirely unrealistic and even if I rarely stick to them. I find it absolutely delightful to sit and plot where I'm going.

The thing I realised though, is that what I'm striving for the most is control. And though control is a nice feeling I think there is a place for powerlessness too. There is value in losing control and having to ride the wave in order to regain control.
Being out of control can be a horrible feeling, but the reality is, sometimes we can't manage every element of our lives. Sometimes unexpected things happen, things that are completely beyond our power to change. And sometimes you need to let this happen and be ok with it. Sometimes you just need to go with the flow.
For me, there is no such thing as perfect balance. The pursuit of balance is entirely the point. But it is so important to remember that there will be moments (hours, days or months) when things are out of control. And that's ok too. It is these moment when you're completely beyond your comfort zone that you can learn a great deal about yourself, about others and about what you and the world are truly capable of.

Perhaps this next thought is a stretch but to build on this... I think the constant pursuit of control is perhaps symptomatic of the way our lives are now. The idea that we can completely determine the path of our lives by our own actions far preferable than conceding that there are sometimes thing beyond our control. In my mind, this is particularly effective for selling products, as marketers tell us that by taking action (ie, making a purchase) we can create for ourselves exactly the lives we want.

I love to think that this is the case - that what we achieve in life is directly related to our actions and our effort. To believe that life is what we make it. But this only goes so far. Sometimes circumstances interfere with our grand plans and lead us to new ones...