The Importance of Balance

Balance is so fucking important. It is one of the top three lessons I learned in 2017. Literally and figuratively, if you can’t maintain balance then you will fall apart. Even now, I need a reminder of its importance. In these past couple of weeks, balance has been the hardest thing for me to maintain. I’ve been working an average of five hours at least four times a week (realistically more because of taking on other shifts), interning for four hours three times a week, trying to maintain somewhat of a social life, volunteering with the Crisis Text Line whenever I can, and getting an adequate amount of sleep all in a 12ish hour day. Some would say, “Well you decided to do all of this, can you really complain?” Well, yes, it was my choice to take on all of these things, but that doesn’t make it any less of my reality. I still have to handle the consequences of my decisions, which were different than what I anticipated. It is too late to back out.

The thing about balance is that sometimes you can’t really tell how much is too much when you begin piling responsibilities on your plate. Lately I’ve been struggling to find balance between rest, work, and play. I thought the way I set everything up was going to be fine. But one day of with only five hours of sleep turned into a week of not getting the rest that was needed to maintain the amount of work I was doing. One week turned into two, and it wasn’t until I had to force myself to stay awake behind the wheel, or felt the urge to break down in tears at any minor inconvenience or the thought of fulfilling my responsibilities that I knew I was close to toppling over if I didn’t readjust my routine.

My struggle with balance happened to revolve around work, rest and having fun, however balance is an important quality in practically every aspect of life. Balance is so innate in the universe that nature has its own balanced system that keeps the world running smoothly. Think about the ecosystem and its predator and prey system, even the way rain works. Think about the balance between life and death and how living organisms die so others can be born. Think about how it is encouraged to have a balanced meal to ensure you get all the necessary nutrients. And how its best to balance between the positives and the negatives of life and any given situation. Too much of any one thing can do lasting damage.

Balance is like a spectrum. Understanding when you’ve gone too far in one direction and when you’re holding yourself back is vital. Balance is also like carrying a stack of building blocks. Knowing how much is too much to pile on is key. Everyone’s definition of balance is different, but it maintains the same basic and essential ideology. The most important thing is to figure out what balance looks like to you. Without first figuring out how much you can take on, without quivering under all of the weight, you risk cracking under the pressure. There’s nothing wrong with taking a step back to readjust your stack or moving another way along the spectrum. It’ll be worth it to prevent yourself from crumbling.