If I Knew Now…
I would think a lot more about balance. The importance of balance in life has been on my mind a lot lately. Here are some realizations.
First, I think everyone has a big goal – a broad idea of the kind of person they hope to be and the life they hope to have. Contentment and satisfaction are two words that might describe that goal, which is more comprehensive than a career, relationship, or achievement. Imagine the big goal as a central tower. In order to make it happen, we build toward that goal with various supports around the edges. These are different for everyone, but they may include an enriching career, meaningful relationships, personal convictions, passions, and a healthy lifestyle. It is a working balance of these things that brings big picture happiness to fruition.
Now, a brief aside. I have recently become fascinated with Crossfit, which if you haven’t seen it is a new sport/workout program/lifestyle that aims at a novel definition of fitness. In Crossfit, true fitness lies in a perfect harmony of ten physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, ﬂexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. Crossfitters are basically pissed off that endurance athletes are regularly considered to be the fittest humans because they are often severely lacking in many of the other facets of fitness. I find this idea convincing and highly representative of the balance required in life as a whole.
If I look back on my college years, it is easy to see that the times at which I was most unhappy were the times that I failed to prioritize balance. This happens easily when we lose sight of the forest and get caught up in the trees of coursework, social activities, sports, or a relationship. When one of these things starts becoming dominant, the tower starts to lean, and we lose sight of where we really want to go. I think the best way to maintain balance is to continuously reorient oneself toward the big picture. As you consider your progress toward that eventual goal, I truly think it becomes clear how the supports work together to reinforce the tower.
Notice that this is also important on a smaller scale. Within a sport, we have the most success when we strive for a balance of the strength, speed, and smarts necessary to win. It is probably unwise to take relationship advice from me, but I am pretty sure that mine have been fairly miserable when they lose balance. You can break it down as much as you want, but fundamentally, balance is important on every level.
I think we all recognize what I’m saying, but most will agree that it is hard to maintain the ideal combination of buttresses (look them up if you don’t know what I’m talking about) in the best configuration all the time. So, if I knew now, I would take a step back more often and ask whether I’ve currently got the balance I need to make this thing (my life) happen like I hope it does.