The day started like many others; awoke with my disciplined husband, pulling on sweats and promptly out the door for the 4-mile fast walk. Today, out of cold brew at home meant a stop at the coffee shop where we sat for a little longer than usual sipping iced lattes.
On the walk we talked about the future, balance in our lives and what we think we want our lives to look like.
I recalled a topic in the lunchroom yesterday where we discussed Randi Zuckerberg’s work-life balance realization that on any given day, you can choose any 3 of the 5 elements: Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness or Friends, but no more.
I think Randi is onto something, and while it may feel like a bummer that you can’t actually have it all, the truth is – you can’t actually have it all. At least not all at the same time.
How does this line up with the fist-pumping Friday, 7-hour workweek, amp you up, crank it out, “yes you can” mentality that so many books advise entrepreneurs and anyone seeking “success” to strive for?
Today is very near a perfect day, I’m told by the same guy who keeps me on a schedule most mornings simply be getting out of bed. Why so? We have exactly twelve hours of daylight between sunrise and sunset. (My weather app says that is actually a day from now, but close enough). What does that have to do with anything?
It’s about balance, he says. The day is balanced. Just look at how much more relaxed we were today. Taking a little longer for good conversation over coffee. Not rushing through the morning. Talking and dreaming about the future.
Um, sure, I say, while hurrying to log in to ESPN to submit my March Madness picks before the deadline. Where does entertainment fit into the daily options, I wonder?
Last year I completed a three-year commercial development project, worked to grow our 15-year old company by over 20% in revenues, and co-started a new venture, Thrive Coworking for Women. Work seemed to take more than one of those slots! I had people ask me fairly frequently, “How are you doing all of that?”
For one, I knew that the commercial project had an end. So I committed and pushed through. But work was definitely the top priority last year, a choice that I made with intention.
My husband picked up meal prep, ensuring that we didn’t eat every meal out, exhausted from late work hours.
Sleep won out over fitness on some weeks for sure.
While I made every effort to answer calls and texts from my grown daughters, they often sighed and said how busy I was. But somehow, we did have long phone calls, visited, took some trips together and I hope that they know they mean everything to me.
I cancelled two cruises. And I greatly missed my friends.
I’m on the other side of the construction project and having celebrated its opening multiple times, I am ON THE OTHER SIDE NOW. Meaning – it’s done and I’m fine! I need to shed a few pounds gained from fitness taking a backseat. Filling up with beer too frequently over food, I’m taking a 40-day break to bring back balance there. Last Saturday I spent an amazing few hours with friends. And, we booked the cruise yet again, pushed back a year, but no less exciting. Turns out, Europe is still there.
Perfect days don’t happen every day. Neither does balance. But by easing up on expectations, realizing that there is the OTHER SIDE coming at the end of something new or big, we can tilt our life back into balance.