I’ve been learning a lot about balance lately. Not the type that allows me to find a drystie and stand still in dancer pose, but the type of balance we all look for in life. The yin and yang. In traditional Chinese medicine, yin includes tolerance, passivity and reflection, whereas yang qualities include doing, improving and achieving (yogajournal August edition).
Much of my life has been about doing, improving and achieving. It has been a constant nagging of “its about time you got out of bed”, “where do you see yourself in five years” and my favorite “what are you doing with your life?”
My recent answer to where do you see yourself in five years is “I don’t even know where I see myself next week, give me some time.” Many people look at me like I’m crazy, like I don’t have my shit together, but in reality, I have my shit together more than ever in my life.
I choose to be. All around me, everyone is doing. Everyone is trying to get to the next level, trying to achieve all their goals and be the absolute best version of themselves right now. I see so much of myself in certain people, and I want to yell at them “ITS NOT IMPORTANT!”
When all is said and done, what will you remember:
The fact that your house was constantly cleaned to a point of perfection, or the times you made a mess with your roommates doing arts and crafts then left it to dry for a couple days
All of the extra hours you spent in the office so you could get ahead, make more money or gain power, or the days you came in to work late because you were enjoying a morning in bed with your significant other?
The well thought out vacation that was planned to a T, or the time you got a $1000 speeding ticket in Iceland?
Sometimes we need to just be. I don’t mean to sit around the house and watch TV or turn off your brain. I am saying we need to look at the present moment and be happy for where we are right now. Think rather, what am I doing right now as opposed to what do I need to get done today.
Imagine a scenario. A common morning routine. A cup of coffee. A little disclaimer/reminder: I am not telling you how to live your life. I am not telling you the right way to drink a cup of coffee, but I am explaining the difference between being somewhere else and being present.
Scenario 1: You pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit out on the patio. You sip your coffee as it cools while going over your day in your head. You think about all you have to get done for the day and make a mental list of how you want your day to go. You arrive at the bottom of your cup and think to yourself “well, time to get my day started.”
Scenario 2: You pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit out on the patio. You sip your coffee while taking note of the temperature as it touches your lips. You notice the temperature drop a tiny degree with each sip you take. You hear the birds chirping in the background and watch the stillness of your backyard, waiting for movement from Mother Nature. You feel the heat of the rising sun on your face as you savor the last drop of delicious coffee and think to yourself “what a great way to start the day.”
Two perspective. Both right. There is no wrong way to enjoy your morning coffee (if you can think of a creative one, post it to the comments below!) The main difference here is perspective. Are you prefacing your day with a coffee, or is Chapter 1 labeled “Cup of Joe”. Are you in that moment or are you planning the next? Are you making expectations for your day, or taking your day as it comes?
We all think that what is important to us now is what is important to us always. Here is what I thought was important at different points in my life:
Age 0: probably food (this never changed)
Age 12: being the best student and following all of the rules
Age 14: doing everything the boys were doing
Age 16: pretending to be badass even though I was a nerd
Age 18: upgrading my car stereo
Age 20: looks and body image
Age 22: working every hour of every day to make more money
Age 24: my career, power and professional standards
Age 25: getting the fuck out of dodge
Age 26: finding balance
And I can only imagine what the next years of my life will bring, but I know I don’t want to look back and think of all the times I missed out on great opportunities because I was cleaning the apartment, trying to make more money or forgetting about my friends because I was working too much.
That mess can wait until you get back from a walk with your children.
That extra hour of work can still be worked after a 5 minute call to your lover.
Making someone feel special only takes 30 seconds.
The past is not worth ruining today over.
The future is not worth ruining today over.
Today, right now, is all that matters.
Look in the mirror, you are alive. You will never be more alive than right now. Honor and respect your time and you will find an abundance of it has always existed, it is all in how you use it.
Find your Balance.