HOW TO FIND BALANCE IN YOUR LIFE (PART 1)

The first in a three part series on finding balance in your life based on a Charlotte Freeman quote
Photo by Julia Caesar on Unsplash

IT'S ALL ABOUT BALANCE

Last Thursday, when I wrote about losing my happiness I realized that part of the problem was that I'd lost the balance I had in my life. Some areas had been completely swamped and were drowning out other aspects and dragging me down.

Recently I read a quote from Charlotte Freeman that gave some great suggestions on how to find balance again - and consequently some contentment and happiness. I've been striving so hard and not really getting very far. Where has the serenity gone? Where has the simplicity of just being in the moment gone? How do I find balance in my life again?

How to find balance in your life - Charlotte Freeman quote

HOW I INTERPRETED WHAT CHARLOTTE SAYS:

Now that I'm well and truly into Midlife, I can see how these ideas she's listed have panned out over the decades, and I'd like to share my experiences using her sentences as jumping off points. It'll be a good reminder for me about getting things into proportion again. Rather than squeezing it all into one looooong post, I've broken it into three parts and I'll be sharing Part 2 on Thursday and Part 3 next Monday - hopefully you'll pop back to read the rest. So here we go with her first two points:

FIND YOUR WORK/LIFE BALANCE

Work hard but don’t let work take over your life, you will lose yourself. 

Man! This was her first point and my biggest struggle over the last 12 months or so. When work starts to bleed over into every aspect of your life, you know you're out of balance and need to do something about it. I know some people place a lot of value in their career - basically their job is who they are, but that's not the right balance for me. No matter how good or bad a job is, it needs to be left behind at the end of the day - not brought home with me to colour the rest of the evening.

In the Bible, Mark 8:36 and 37 asks a deep and heart-searching question - what happens if you gain all you need financially but lose your soul in the process? I've been so tied up with the fact that my job pays well that I've been too scared to let it go. In the end I've cut back and will work less this year. If that plan falls in a heap then I know I'm going to have to make the hard call and leave. It's better to save my soul and my mental health than to have a few extra bucks in the bank.

 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?  Is anything worth more than your soul? Mark 8:36,37
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

LOVE FROM THE HEART (NOT THE HEAD)

Love, but love for the right reasons. Life is too short for anything mediocre. 

Love that is given with expectations isn't really love at all is it? If we can't love others with all their flaws and foibles then we will struggle all the time. If I only love someone when they're being lovable then I am at risk of losing relationships - because people are often unlovable (and that's when they need us to love them the most). The times when I want to walk away are the times when I need to dig in and love harder.

Hurt feelings aren't an excuse to stop loving. They may give me a reason to pull back a little, or to re-define boundaries, but love is love and making it conditional takes away the core of it. I don't want to look back with regret and wish I'd invested more in the people I care about - I want to love hard and if I'm loved back then that is the added bonus.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Do either of these areas get out of balance for you? Are you caught up in your work to the detriment of other areas of your life? Are you hurting and withdrawing from the people you need to love harder? Life is messy but worth every little bit of ourselves we invest in it.

The first in a three part series on finding balance in your life based on a Charlotte Freeman quote

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40 comments

  1. Hi Leanne, For me it's about prioritize and spend more time with people who are important to me and on activities that I enjoy. I like the quote "Life is too short for anything mediocre". I hope you find your happiness today and going forward.

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    1. Thanks Natalie - and you're absolutely right about prioritizing people and relationships. They are so important to me too - but I also need to remember that I am my own person too and not place all my self-value on those people and their opinions.

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  2. Hi,Leanne - Powerful post and brilliant summary. I fully agree, "Life is messy but worthy every bit of ourselves that we invest in it"! Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Sometimes the messiness in life is what we run from Donna - but it can also be the most interesting part too - it's often the part we look back on in years to come and smile about.

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  3. Ahhhhhh. This is so timely for someone I love if only he would read and hear it.

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  4. This is so true. We must focus on our own path, which is different than everyone else's.
    Estelle

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    1. It's about avoiding comparison and living a life that's right for you - and that's different for everyone isn't it?

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  5. Balance is so important, in every aspect of life, at home and at work. I realized that whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed it's often because something is out of balance. Restoring balance usually helps to restore happiness, joy, and peace.

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    1. I'm the same Darlene - when one aspect of my life starts to outweigh everything else then I can feel my happiness flowing down the drain. It's hard work putting it right, but worth the effort in the end.

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  6. I am completely guilty of this. I spend so much time working on my business that I often put my relationships on the back burner. Since having my hysterectomy I find myself pulling away from everyone and spending much more time stuck in my head. I'm hoping it's the menopause and will work itself out soon.

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    1. It's a funny stage of life isn't it Rena - on one hand we get our lives back, but on the other we have to re-evaluate what's important to us and get our priorities right - work can be engaging but it's not the only thing in our lives - people are vital too and if we disconnect with them for too long we regret it down the line.

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  7. I could easily get caught up in working 10 and even 12 hour days in my last job. There was no separation and the job itself made it difficult. As the Operations Manager, I was responsible for the safety of our employees, so during the winter, I might be in work at 4 or 5 in the morning to ensure that the walkways and parking areas were cleared enough for people coming in at 6am.

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    1. Wow Jennifer that is huge! I don't think I have the mental space to commit that much time to a job - but it's different if you love it. The trouble with investing so much of yourself in a career is that it means you have less for the other areas of your life and it would be sad to let relationships fall too far behind in importance - I hope you find the right blend.

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    2. Well, luckily, the company forced me into early retirement when they closed our building. I now get to spend more time on my blog and I'm also caring for my elderly mother.

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  8. Almost 20 years working as an Elementary Para-pro in most every aspect was exciting for me. No two days were alike when working with the children. I worked with a wonderful staff....however something was stirring inside of me....a sense of boredom and lack of focus. I really started a longing of wanting something new to grasp in life.
    My daughter and son-in-law a year and a half ago, blessed our family with the birth of a lil baby girl. Looking into this wee one's eyes....I knew something was really changing in me.
    The Para-pro job I held paid me really well. The Staff was incredible. The children were as always...unpredictable and exciting....so I would often ask myself...what is going on with me. I eventually started praying "Lord, if this is not your will for my life in staying at this wonderful paying job, with these great teachers and staff....please open another avenue to pursue!"
    Fast forward a year and a half later...and my life has totally turned in another direction. This past summer....I resigned of my Para-Pro position....and have picked up baby-sitting my precious grand-daughter 2 days a week...which now has left me with 3 days a week of bonifide unemployment status, and I'm finding it for right now, a wonderful thrill.
    Sure, I don't bring home the money I use to make...which only took me 3 months to get use to...as now I live simply, while going through our home purging stuff I've held onto for years and giving it away or to the local Goodwill type of resale shops!
    I'm at the start of re-creating and decorating our home in a new simple but classy type of way.....a thing which always bugged me while I worked as I was a bit to tired at the end of those days to tackle much of anything.
    I can feel somewhat penniless at times...but when I stop to think of the time I have to embark on the sense of creating...the big paycheck no longer can compare!
    Also, having a husband who sensed what I was going through in the past being employed and opted for me to resign when the time came, has also been a huge added blessing in my life.
    I can't say doing this is for everyone, as I talked with an acquaintance at a mutual friends 60th birthday party a couple of weeks ago,....and she stated...even at approaching 60, she could never want to loose her job...she gets so much worth and satisfaction from it. I could only express happiness for her...as in my heart of hearts know we all have these different wonderful stories we live!
    Thank-you for your blog!
    You have a superb way of writing!
    Take care!

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    1. Amy - you should be blogging! I totally get where you're coming from, I'm down to 2 days a week of work this year and I am seriously loving it. The reduction in stress and the weight of my shoulders has been immense - I can imagine it would be much the same for you. And I am SO envious that you get to spend two days a week with your granddaughter. Our granddaughter will be 2 in April and she is an absolute delight. I miss seeing her as much as we would if we lived closer, but when we have visits it's for longer periods of time and the bond is so lovely. It's like all the good bits of parenting without all the responsibilities!
      I so appreciate you taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment and I'm glad you're enjoying being here - I think we have a lot of similarities in where our lives are heading in the years to come and it would be lovely to continue sharing in the journey x

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  9. In my 30's and 40's I was on a career path that was very demanding and luckily my husband was supportive and I really loved it so that was a good thing. At 48 I got cancer. I looked at my career path,and wanted more sincerity, more free time, more of building a legacy not just building a 401K. I chose to start my own company and become an entrepreneur.

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    1. I love how you've reinvented yourself Haralee and when I read your blog it always makes me smile - you can tell that it's written by a person who is in a really good place in their lives. It's not all about the retirement plan, there has to be a life lived now and every moment enjoyed for what it is. I don't want to have worked myself to death and wonder where all the good times went.

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  10. Leanne, these are good thoughts for us to keep in mind as we begin to have a bit more control over our time. I have a tendency to be so focused on tasks that I miss important cues from the people in my life.
    Thanks for this heads up!

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    1. It's that magic word "balance" isn't it Michele - we don't have to choose one or the other - we can have both if we prioritize our time right and know what has value and what can be shelved.

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  11. I can see why you would want to break this up into several posts. There is a lot there! I totally agree with everything you said. For me, I've managed my work life pretty well. There have been periods of time where things are stressful at work that I find the anxiety or irritability spilling over. As soon as I notice that, I make adjustments. As far as loving unconditionally, I like your clarification that you may need to re-evaluate your boundaries, but that doesn't mean you love the person any less. That has been my experience as well. It's not always easy to do, but so important to their well-being and your own. I look forward to parts 2 & 3. Thanks, as always, for sharing your personal experiences and life lesson with us. Have a beautiful day!

    ~Christie

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    1. Boundaries have become vital to me in the last year Christie - they're something I didn't realize I needed to work on until I hit my crises in 2017. Now I understand how to make them stronger and also that others may not know how to respect yours, or may have different ones to what you are used to. Plus boundaries fluctuate over time and with life experience. Still learning!

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  12. Hi Leanne loved your first part in your series of finding Balance! I unfortunately, gave everything during my working life and that is probably why I struggled when I retired. My work was my life. If I had my time again I would certainly do things differently as the extra hours I put in were never really appreciated anyway. Also true about love. Love isn't just in good times and no one is perfect. It is about still being able to love that person 'warts and all' because that really is what we are asking them to do of us. Thanks for being such a great co-host at #MSTL we certainly make a fabulous team. xx

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    1. Hi Sue - you're right, the jobs I've invested myself in heart and soul have gone to dust when I left. They move on and you wonder why you sacrificed so much for so little. Now I'm more concerned with getting relationships right and putting my time into those - work takes a second place big time. BTW I'm loving co-hosting with you too - this is so much fun isn't it? x

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  13. What a wonderful post. It spoke to me on many levels. I have been comparing myself to others recently and it's is such a distressing waste of time. I have loved, but conditionally, and I realise that you need to love hard when it's hardest to love. I have been at risk of selling my soul and I need to ask myself some serious questions. Thanks for the insights this morning :)

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    1. Jo you are beyond amazing in how well you present yourself and how gracious you are. I think most of us would fall short in comparison (not vice versa!) We really don't give ourselves enough credit do we? I loved your pointers on dealing with Midlife in your post today - and once again it comes back to less of the outer stuff and more of the love and kindness of life.

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  14. For many years, my job was the center of my life. Work was everything. That has changed in the last few years. I have adjusted my life to reflect new interests and new priorities. It's a new time in my life, and I am really enjoying the changes.

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    1. Good on you Cherie - it makes such a difference doesn't it? I think we start to see that there is a whole "other" life out there waiting for us when we get our heads out of the work pressure and start looking around. I know that's been happening for me too.

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  15. I love, love , love the quote! I'm pinning it (and printing it!) as I speaks to so many elements I am personally working on. Almost made me want to change my word of the year to embrace. I'm not... but embracing life is something I'm trying to do with two hands.

    For me, I needed to stop work and focus on building life. There was never any balance ... it was all work, all the time - mentally and physically. So I've never really thought balance was a good term for me. Now I am looking at creating everything but work - relationships, hobbies, healthy lifestyle elements. And bring to make it not be about comparing myself to others, but defining the unique life that will be mine. To me, Work was easy, but figuring out Life... that's been hard.

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    1. I think work can be a prop Pat and it gives us something to hide in because it takes up so much headspace. Once we free ourselves of that we find a whole new world out there and I can see you're loving it! I used Embrace for my word of the year a couple of years ago for the same reason - I finally had enough space in my life to be able to decide what was important to me and to allow myself to enjoy it without the guilt that usually comes from putting myself first.

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  16. I loved this quote, especially the last part. I need to learn to breath, trust and let go. I know I spend too much time and worry trying to control everything! I also have a tendency to compare myself to others, which is very unhealthy.

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    1. I can totally relate to the controlling side of things Michele - I like to play safe and the idea of having everything how I think it should be makes me less anxious. But, letting go and taking things as they come can be quite liberating once we do it a few times. I've got a long way to go with that still though!

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  17. Our life has slowed way down now that we have an empty nest and we both leave work at work. I think we are balancing nicely in our new found peace and quiet, lol!! I love it that we can go somewhere in the car or just sit and watch tv and we don't even have to carry on a conversation.

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    1. The empty nest has a lot to recommend it doesn't it Susanne? We love the freedom and the peace - also how little it costs to support just the two of us - our needs are small and life is very cruisy atm. I'm glad you're finding the same things :)

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  18. I wrote a comment on this the other day Leanne but it seems to have disappeared! I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to reading your next installments. In regards to balance I love the quote 0 Don't count the days, make the days count. It kept me going when I was at work and I still use it now that I'm no longer working. You have such wisdom Leanne and we're lucky to have you sharing it with us :)

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    1. Those were the kindest words Deb and I really appreciate them. I'm still trying to get the balance of everything right in my life. Just when I have it organized, something changes and I'm juggling again - still that's what makes life interesting - and it gives me plenty to write about!

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  19. As you know, I'm struggling with the work thing. I miss my blogging I think but just don't have the headspace for it at the end of the day.

    In reality though, this full-time contract finishes in August and I need to squirrel away as much money as I can for my o/s holiday then, so I'm trying to remind myself that it's for a short time.

    I'd like to get extended but would probably prefer part-time or even 4 days a week if I could and I think that would give me more freedom... but I'd still have the money that I'm really enjoying AND which is offering me more freedom.

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    1. Deb I don't know how people work full time and blog as well - or who parent very young children and have enough headspace to write coherently! I really do hope that your full-time morphs into the perfect part-time position closer to home and with enough down time to get into your blogging - I really love your honesty and your willingness to be real (it resonates with me so much!) xx

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  20. Balance is so important. To create that balance we often have to pivot our planned action to find a more realistic action but that is definitely part of growth.

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