7/20/11

A Balanced Life

I was just asked to speak on Balance for 15-20 minutes. With these very very specific instructions: You can decide what that means and where you want to take it. Awesome. I've got two weeks to put it together. Here's my experience with balance so far in my life:

12 years old: I learn how to do a back handspring on a four-foot-high balance beam.

21 years old: I balance my first check book. Remember check books? I thought I was so mature! I lasted a few days of diligent record keeping. Then I got bored and confused.

27 years old: I meet with a professional nutritionist and learn how to truly balance my diet. Mainly, she taught me that Trader Joe's solves everything. I lost 15 pounds by following her meal ideas! I've since gained it back. But at least I gained it all back without McDonald's, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils!
The results after working with a nutritionist. Picture taken two years ago. Forget the kids, look how cute I am!

That's all I go so far. I clearly have a lot to learn before I speak before hundreds of people on balance. What is a balanced life anyway? I think it's a life that gives ample time and effort to things that really matter.  If I'm right, then I need to work on my balancing act.

So here's the plan: For the next two weeks I'm going to try to live a more Balanced Life. Sort of like the Happiness Project. I never made it past the first two chapters of that book, but I got the gist of it. Here's my list of things that matter most in my life and that I want to be spending more time and effort with:

1. My kids: Wake up with them and play with them more. Specifically: Read them at least five stories a day. The boys at the park: push them 50 times each on the swing. Ella at the park: Play at least one 20 minute game, her choice. I shamelessly spend 95% park time on my iphone and the other five is taking pictures of my kids for the blog. So much for making this the best summer ever! haha

2. Rob: Spend more time with him. At night.

3. Myself:
Eat like I did when I worked with a nutritionist, run/exercise 30 minutes daily, go to bed by 10:30pm, read 30 pages of a book of my choice, and relearn how to do a back handspring on a balance beam. Make it two back handsprings in a row and stick the landing. Someone fetch me a balance beam!

I think that should give me enough to work on for two weeks. I'll start today. If nothing else, my experiences will help fill up at least 10 minutes of speaking time. The other 5 minutes can be filled with statistics on balance. Everyone loves to hear about numbers for five minutes!  Wish me luck.

Do you feel like you are in a period in your life that feels balanced? I need all the help I can get! Tell me how you do it!

23 comments:

  1. Trader Joe's does solve everything. Especially the one in Chelsea (vs. the one in Union Square or even the UWS, although the UWS one is pretty great, too).

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  2. I love your life experience w/ balancing. :D You should check out (if you haven't already) Joanna Goddard's little series on balancing life/work/family/husband/etc. It was incredible, and I learned so much from these wonder women!!

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  3. Rebecca: oh yay! Such a Good idea, I'll def read those for ideas.

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  4. For the most part I feel balanced. I know this wouldn't work for all families, but it works for ours. Mike and I truly split taking care of the kids and working 50/50. In other words, we both watch the kids about the same and work on our paying jobs the same. It really makes us both feel balanced because neither one of us feels like we are either watching the kids too much or working too much. I also take the kids to childwatch almost everyday for an hour so I get an hour to exercise. We go out for lunch almost everyday because I don't like preparing 3 meals a day for everyone. I do most of the dishes and laundry, he does all of our finances and kills spiders. We're a good team. Not that life is perfect! But I really do feel balanced most of the time.
    -Jeannine

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  5. tell me what to buy at trader joes! i'm guessing it's not the mini ice cream cones??

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  6. I seriously want to know what she told you. I'm dying for some changes.

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  7. This is awesome! Would love to learn more about what healthy foods/meals worked for you. And I LOVE your endorsement of Trader Joe's of course :) The UWS is the best!!

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  8. I think the 1st two pics of Ella say it best...some days we feel on top of the world and "think" we have everything balanced in our lives....and then the next day the plate hits us in the face & we have another "learning experience" about balancing our lives. I don't think anyone is ever completely balanced all of the time because we are not perfect.There is always ways to improve.I think being balanced is a constant juggling act that requires us to have focus,strength,prayer,compassion,guidance,&love in our lives.A person's balance changes depending on their environment and situations that they are in at the moment. Do I feel balanced?I think I am able to balance a few things well...but I still have things I would like to improve on in my balancing act:) I think it is God's way of telling us that we have room for improvement when we don't feel balanced in all aspects of our lives:)What are we currently balancing? For me it is my spiritual,social,physical,& emotional life:) What are you balancing?
    ~Christine

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  9. Hello- My baby boy is only 7 weeks old so I'm just beginning to wonder what struggles with balance I will soon face. But I had to comment and say hi because I think we're about the same age and live in the same 'hood! I love all of your pictures with the kids around the city. Ella's birthday party was stunning! And you can find a balance beam at Chelsea Piers... although in my experience my mind remembered how to do a lot more than my body did! ~Erica

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  10. I try to keep things even with a good cry, a ridiculous dance party and a generous glass of wine, administered as needed.

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  11. Aw, you're awesome Sharon! I love this idea.

    I've thought a lot about this topic, and through the years my understanding and the analogies change. The areas of work change with each chapter of life. But one of my favorite ones is about a CAR... if we have four areas of our life and like the tires one or two are filled more than the others, then our car (self) will be bumpy and uncomfortable, thus also making useless strain on the gears and internal working parts of our vehicle. I've often thought of how I'm putting forth my time, heart, mind and such into the various people (the wheels can be any part of us/family) and I think how smooth the ride would be if I just plan and put forth the right amounts of energy in the right areas. How lovely would that be! Its at least an ideal worth working towards and hopefully my ride will get smoother and better through the years. :)

    Do we get to hear your talk? I hope!

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  12. Jeannine: Love that idea. Someday!
    Liz and Lauren and Jodi: good idea. i'll do a post with everything the dietitian taught me asap
    Christine: Loved your comment. Focus! For sure
    Erica: haha, yes! Chelsea Piers has just about everything. I seriously want to take their trapeze class someday. Good luck with your little babe in the city. Thanks for reading! We should hang out :)
    Elana: YES! haha
    Heidi: I love the way you think. Such a thoughtful comment. Yes--you will hear me. Unless your kids send you out in the hallway. haha

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  13. Just want to join the chorus of voices that want Trader Joe's tips!

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  14. I think is all about organization and priorities. It's not like I'm an expert (and I only have 1 kid) but in my opinion first you have to identify what are the priorities, then you make lists, I make lots of To Do lists. So, for my sanity, my me-time is running (with a jogging stroller) and when baby naps, though most of his nap time is also cooking time and watering the plants time. I wish the day had 6 more hours or so, it seems I never have enough time to do all the projects I have on mind. But it helps to be organized, you waste less time on tasks when you organize ahead of time.
    I hope this helps, as I said, is just my opinion ;)

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  15. I think balance is all about personal expectations. So spelling them out for yourself really is the first step. As a work at home mom, I struggle with this a lot, but I've learned to feel good about what I've been able to accomplish each day and not beat myself up for not getting to every little thing. Organization and goals help, but the key is to be flexible with yourself, revisit often and make enough time the things that truly make you happy. At least that helps me avoid complete disappointment!

    Looking forward to hearing more about your project!

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  16. wow!!!

    thanks everyone for all the comments and suggestions!! I'll keep you posted. :)

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  17. i do believe your dad would be willing to build you another beam. the one in the backyard worked for us for years! --jillian***

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