I always used to think my purpose in life was to be a great mother. I always knew I wanted children, and I thought nothing else would fulfill me as much as taking care of them. Now that I am a mother of two kids I am finding that what I always thought would matter most to me isn't what I thought it would be.
The trouble is that we're conditioned in life to believe that it is possible to:
- Have it all
- Do it all
Here's a great example: almost three years ago, I wrote about an exercise meant to help identify which priorities in life are not getting the attention they deserve. It's called the Life Balance Wheel: breaking the wheel into 8 equal parts; assigning each wedge a priority in life; and rating the satisfaction in each area. With the results, you're supposed to address each lacking area of life, "fix it", and move on to the next problem area until the life balance wheel is smooth.
So, according to the myth, the areas of your life would look like this if your life is in balance:
So let's say I were to fill out one of these life wheels right now. My life wheel looks like this:
Now let's fast-forward to July. Card sales slow. The days are warm and long, so I go on a lot of walks. I vacation with my family on the weekends, so I have more free time. This does mean that my blog, business and creativity suffers a bit:
Still out of balance, but the imbalance has shifted.
So: this is why I believe that "life balance" is a myth. Why should everything be perfect, all of the time? And why should people stress themselves out trying to make it perfect?
Being well-rounded is highly overrated
One of the main reasons I started this course was because people seemed to think that I had it all figured out, and that scared me. People who emailed me or commented on my blog were under the impression that my house is always clean, my kids are always happy, and my work was always going well. That couldn't be further from the truth. If one thing in my life is going well, other parts might not be. That is probably the way it is for most other people. I would be living a lie if I let you believe that.
This is what my workspace / dining room looks like on a normal day:
My desk is a mess, there are toys on the table, paper piles, dishes from the kids' snack are still there, and the floor could probably use a sweeping.
I could try harder to keep it completely organized and clean all of the time... but I feel like there would be less time for creativity and filling orders. I know that right now - 10 days before Valentine's Day - I need to put my customers' needs first. I can worry about getting organized again when things slow down.
I even need help with the kids. When I have a big order to fill, I'm not above calling family and asking for help. And because I stay up so late at night, my husband gets up with the kids in the morning, and I roll out of bed when he leaves for work. It's not my ideal, but it's the imperfect way things are right now. When I start going to bed earlier again, I'll start getting up early again. There's a season for everything.
Your Own Priorities
Your focus list from last week should be a good indicator of what your true priorities are - but there may be others.
In your note book, write down your top priorities in life. You may only have two or three, or you might have ten. Take some time to really think through your list - some priorities might be old and out-dated from your past. We'll re-visit this list tomorrow!