I decided to stop using “balance” to describe how I manage life as a grown-up. Partly because “balance” conjures up images of ledgers with lines of numbers—of addition and multiplication and other horribly boring-to-me things—and partly because it gives me the impression I should be holding all of this stuff.
I can’t hold it all.
I can’t weigh and measure and allocate time for each thing in some magical way where it all comes out even, where it zeroes out, where there is balance.
I could try, I could maybe even succeed briefly, but I’m no idiot—I know, even if I have it all up in the air perfectly balanced, it is just one strand of straw away from tumbling to the ground.
Maybe it’s the overachiever in me, maybe it’s semantics, but trying to find balance left me feeling awfully unbalanced.
So, I ditched the word for a different one—and now, I dance.
I’m homeschooling a precious and precocious kid; I’m an attorney; I’m a writer; I’m an artist; and I’m always adding to a miles-long list of creative projects. So, sometimes, I do the chicken dance.
I slow dance on low energy days. I crank it up to take advantage of high-energy hours. I grab some punch and sit down when I need a rest.
Sometimes I step on feet, or someone steps on mine. Sometimes I lose the steps, or forget the dance, or find myself in the middle of a dance I don’t know. But it’s OK because I’m not on a tight rope.
I don’t drop everything because I’m not holding it all up. I’m not holding it all up because it’s not mine to hold.
A misstep, or a forgotten one, or one I don’t know isn’t going to toss me off of a rope and send my life into a tailspin. Instead, it’s a fun opportunity to pick up a new move, to learn, to grow, to make me a better dancer.
I am not my own task master—I’m a dancer matching the rhythm of the music maker.
The world is not a tight rope—it’s my dance floor.
So if you ask me how I’m handling it all, I won’t tell you it’s a balance; I’ll say it’s a dance and I’m having a blast.