the daily balancing act

When I was in college, on a study abroad to St. Petersburg, Russia, a few of my fellow students and I were talking (in English, tisk tisk) one afternoon. We were discussing the idea of comparing your brain to a place. One guy said his mind was like Nevsky Prospekt, the main thoroughfare in St. Petersburg—busy and bustling at all times. I think at the time I compared my brain to a circus, but this was before I actually went to a circus and realized I hate circuses.

Last night, as I felt my mind scrambling in a million different directions, trying to sort out all my thoughts and worries and mental to-do items, I decided my mind is like boiling water. Or just water, and every thought is a degree of heat. By the end of the day, things are bubbling up all over the place and I feel like my brain might explode, but sleep resets the temperature back to lukewarm.

Forgive the philosophical escapade, but this leads me to the point of this post: sometimes I feel like there is just way too much to think about and do.

As I was thinking last night about all my priorities and responsibilities in life, I started to feel overwhelmed by all the things! Ben. Allie. My job. Friends. Family. Our kitties. Working out. Blogging. Cooking/eating. Reading. Sleeping. On and on and on. And these are just the parts I like! I know it’s a cliché that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, but I have never felt this so keenly until recently. When I think about all the things I need or want to do, I seriously need about an extra 10 hours each day to squeeze everything in. At the end of each day, I invariably feel like I didn’t do something I wanted or needed to do.

But maybe that’s just the way you grow as a person, when you’re forced to choose how to spend your time. I remember reading once that former Dean Kim Clark of Harvard Business School encouraged students to simplify their lives into just a few core categories, then prioritize. If I had to narrow things down to, say, five areas of my life and prioritize them accordingly—(1) God, (2) family, (3) health, (4) work, and (5) leisure—I could probably fit everything in a slot, but that forces me to confront the fact that a lot of the things I do are lower on my master list of priorities. Though maybe that’s where the daily sense of missing something stems from.

Maybe it’s time to throw out a few TV shows in place of more scripture study. Or sacrifice time shopping to spend time serving. It feels hard to do, but if I go back to my core priorities, it’s probably the right thing to do. I have to believe those sacrifices will make me happier and more fulfilled. But I do think balance is important. A little me time is important for my sanity! And that just brings me back to the title of this post: life is a daily balancing act of all our priorities. The older I get, the more I realize this. And the less sleep I get. Which, we’ve already discussed, will end up killing me in the end anyway. Only seems appropriate to close with this sentiment:

“The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”

– Marjorie Pay Hinckley, via Goodreads

Yep, pretty much!

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5 thoughts on “the daily balancing act

  1. Julie B Beck has categories: 1. Essential (i.e. essential for my or my family’s eternal salvation), 2. Necessary (just needs to be done), 3. Nice to do (everything else). She said when she does the essential things first, she finds that she actually gets to do a lot of things on her nice to do list. I like that.

  2. Oh my gosh Bethany. This is definitely me right now too! I’m constantly sorting in my head if certain tasks are essential or not. I guess that as a new mother you always have to prioritize things because you only have so much time for yourself.

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