Life balance is a big fat & dangerous lie.
You’ll never find it. And you’ll tear yourself apart in the search for it.
You’ll also feel guilt, heartache and hopelessness.
Really think about it. Every single day, when you’re faced with a decision about balance, you mentally put a percentage-importance on your time making money to pay the bills, time teaching your oldest how to drive, time you spend at the gym staying healthy, time fingerpainting with the little ones, time having a few drinks with friends, and the list goes on and on.
When you choose to spend this minute on one thing, you’ve sacrificed everything else on your list to do so. You’ve put each piece of your life on a scale and something won out over everything else.
Of course, it doesn’t really mean that. But that’s what it feels like. And, that’s what matters. Heartache, guilt, hopelessness are soon to follow.
Scientifically, things in balance are in a state of equilibrium.
Equilibrium is a state achieved from the equal action of opposing forces.
Maintaining equilibrium requires constant struggle.
The many aspects of your life simply aren’t sustainable as opposing forces.
Stop setting yourself up for failure.
And this is a big thing to fail.
We’re talking about life fulfillment, the happiness of your children, the survivability of your marriage, your idea of a successful life and the hopeful, eventual lack of ‘druthers at the end of it all.
Yeah. Maybe we need a better plan.
My better plan: Make Margaritas! Live a life that’s well-blended.
Too much tequila, all by itself, will kill you…or come close to it. Sweet & sour, on its own, isn’t very good at all. Lime juice, Triple Sec & lemons are generally alright in small doses. Ice is useful and versatile, but nothing special alone. Salt is only meant to be complimentary to other flavors.
But, if you put all of these things together, magic happens.
Okay, its science, not magic. But its still cool.
They all take on a new flavor that is way yummier and more enjoyable than any of its individual parts.
And such is life.
Stop thinking of yourself as leading 3, 5, 10 or 20 different lives. Your life is not ingredients on a shelf.
Your life is a margarita! A tasty, complex blend that is sweeter, better and more satisfying than any one of its individual parts.
The alternative to life-balance is pure awesomeness
Why I want a margarita life.
Here are the two major reasons why I want my life to be well-blended:
The alternative sucks.
It’s polarizing. You develop multiple personalities.
You chop your life into tiny little pieces…and then wonder why it doesn’t feel whole.
There’s a work version of Laura and a home version of Laura and a going-out version of Laura and they don’t have much to do with each other and the people in each of those lives don’t really know each other and they wouldn’t recognize those other Lauras if they met her on the street and that’s exhausting and horrible.
It’s sad that your husband doesn’t get to know that strong, confident and powerful woman that’s leading the team at work. Or that your kids never find out that mom is actually really freaking funny and her friends think she hung the moon.
Don’t be lots of people. Just be you.
Reality is a better teacher than self-doubt.
I want my kids to see how life works in the real world.
Some people may be reading this and thinking, “But, the real world is compartmentalized.” Hmm…that’s true. But that isn’t the world I want to create for the future and still, that isn’t really the point.
The way I see it is this: When your life is split into pieces, your kids see only one part of the whole adult human experience. You put blinders on them. They don’t get exposed to what it takes to bring home the bacon, give most of that bacon to the man, work ’til you’re drooling on your keyboard, cut loose and get silly, keep a house (as best you can) and struggle with learning new concepts.
Kids are protected from the real work of life and made to believe that this stuff just happens to adults because they’ve had more birthdays than them. They grow up thinking that the world works very differently from how the world actually works.
So, not only does our “balance” set ourselves up for failure, it sets our kids up for a world-shaking reality check later in life.
That system may keep therapists in business, but it totally sucks for our kids.
So, why do it?
How I’m creating my margarita life
I’ve blended my personal life and I thought, for a while, that I’d blended my work life too. But, I was wrong. I struggled and slumped and cussed up a storm trying to juggle my work.
Every week I’d have graphic design gigs, volunteer work, a house to run and learning to facilitate. On top of that, I was working to build a coaching business because my true passion is helping people find a way to do what they love and get paid for it.
So, week after week I kept juggling. Obviously, nothing got done. I was stuck. Overwhelmed. Opposing forces were conspiring against me.
Until one question. My husband was heading to bed around 2am, as I prepared for my third completely non-productive all-nighter in a row. He said, “Aren’t you the one who’s always talking about “blended lives” or something like that?”
I started to get mad and say something about how he really isn’t paying attention if he doesn’t get it yet. But then he asked, “Why don’t you blend all of this into one business?”
I laughed at him.
I tried to dodge him by explaining that the experts say …blah, blah, blah.
What experts?! The same ones telling me to find life balance?! Ha! Why can’t my business be well-blended too? Why the hell can’t it!?
Dammit, he’s right! (And that’s not easy to admit.) How am I supposed to teach people how to live blended lives if I have a whole collection of segmented projects?
So, here I am. Blending my love for self-made awesomeness, micro-business and design into one beautiful margarita of a resource for people who want to lead blended lives too.
I’ll be writing more about my quest to find the right blend for me and my family.
I hope you’ll join me, give me your thoughts and tell me your stories & strategies. I can’t wait to get to know you!
Images: The images on this page are from a live presentation I gave in early 2011. I do not have the credits. :( If one of them is yours, please, please let me know so I can thank you properly!!