Learning About Balance

Swim meet after the sun came out

Last night as I was taking my boots off, I noticed that the sole on one needed re-glueing.  Now, I’m a girl from the Northwest, and I am in southern California wearing sturdy boots that are at least 5 years old and have never shown any sign of damage from the rain. This was unbelievable. So, when I opened the curtains this morning and saw blue sky and snow covered mountains, I was stunned and grateful. The light was shockingly bright and my eyes teared up as I drove to my new favorite hang out to get a cup of chai.  I was wishing I had my sunglasses, but they were in my purse when it was stolen. I found, though, after I got to the pool for the swim meet, that if I was looking through my camera’s lens, it wasn’t too bright.  I got to play around with swimming photos today.  You know that butterfly shot when the swimmer’s head is out of the water and their arms are fully extended?  That’s a hard shot to get unless they’re swimming a long race.  I wanted to get that shot in an outdoor pool under sunny skies, but neither Charlotte nor the other kid I was photographing in the butterfly even took a breath until they were almost to the end of the pool where I was standing. By the time they’re in the third length of the pool or so, they start breathing more often. I got one butterfly shot of Charlotte’s friend that I like (see photographs), and resorted to taking a breast stroke shot of her in the IM.

Though the sun came out today, its still cold and I am still tired.  I am learning what it means to rest.  I remember this feeling when I was younger.  I used to do this every time we went on vacation.  As soon as I got there, I’d get sick. Maybe I’ll finally learn to slow down after this episode. I am not at all used to feeling physically off my game and I’m not fond of it.  I wish I had a better sense of moderation, but it always seems like there’s more to do than there hours in the day, and I don’t mean that in terms of chores and responsibilities.  I mean after the urgent chores and responsibilities, there are all the things I just want to do. I can fill a spare moment in any one of about 10 pleasurable ways without a second thought.  Its a trap, because I delude myself into thinking that if I am doing what I want to be doing, then my body will find a way to keep up… until it doesn’t. It does this every couple of years – just goes on strike. No matter how much pleading I do, I can’t convince it to get up the energy and enthusiasm to go do whatever it is that I would ordinarily want to do.

In my efforts to create a full and rich life, which contains not only my stay-at-home mom responsibilities and family pleasures, but my creative and adventurous joys, I’ve created something that actually requires an inordinate amount of energy to sustain.  The strain, at this moment in time, is probably the most acute because while I can see that the quantity of energy required by my family responsibilities might be waning, that’s only in relation to the past few years when it was at its peak. That’s my only measuring stick. So, while I am trying to learn to balance these two parts of my life, I’m going to have to learn a new way to do it. When I began this blog, I added it to an already full plate. Now I’m finding that it has its own draw and asks me for time and energy too. My days just got stretched a little longer and I didn’t notice the toll it was taking because I was excited. Lesson learned… I hope. So now my goal, which doesn’t seem a whole lot different than before, but feels different, is to create some balance. I think that means that I will simply give myself deadlines and say “that’s enough”, regardless of what remains to be done. It means I will have to stop kidding myself that doing is more important than being.

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