There’s a shining time in everyone’s life that they constantly fight to replicate. Whether it’s a perfect relationship, perfect intelligence or a perfect balance between work and play, it seems that we all have a memory of a perfect time when we were at our best.
Of course, memory is a great romantic. The past always seems a bit better and everything seems a bit more perfect than it actually was.
But still, my senior year in college epitomized the way I want my life to be structured. No, I don’t want to be getting drunk several times a week or living in a room the size of closet (I lived in what was literally a closet in Seattle the next year, but that’s beside the point). The details wouldn’t fit with my life now, but the balance of work, exercise, friends and good conversation is one that I want to replicate throughout my life.
Interestingly enough, I was busier than I ever had been before or have been since. Americans are undeniably busy, and we’re quick to criticize business as some sort of imbalance. What we imply in this condemnation, however, is that busyness is only connected with work; we can’t put our cell phones down long enough to have conversations with our kids. I would condemn this kind of busyness, too.
However, busyness can also signal an energy that allows one to meet business or school obligations, exercise, hang out with friends, run errands and still have leftover time for vegging in front of an America’s Next Top Model marathon.
Isn’t that what we’re all searching for anyway? We want time to just sit and do nothing, but we don’t want only to sit and do nothing. There’s nothing less satisfying than having too much time to surf the Internet, except, of course, having no energy to do anything but surf the Internet.
How do we achieve such a balance?
It’s certainly a process. We need work that satisfies it with its variety, its pressing need, our consistent obsession with what we’re doing. We need people who need us to do what we do. We need time for ourselves, times to eat well and exercise. We need mental health, time to stop worrying about everything we’re doing and just sit.
But most of all, we need to forgive ourselves and move on when we can’t achieve this balance. Some weeks are good weeks, and some are bad. Most importantly, we need to continue striving for balance. Isn’t that striving—and the success and failures implied within it—the epitome of balance in itself?