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Friday, May 19, 2006

My balancing journey.

When I was a child I often played with the seesaw at the playground. I didn't care to sit on one end and go up and down, that was too scary. What I liked was standing in the middle and trying to balance both sides of the seesaw while both seats where empty without falling off. I had no clue that such balancing act would become the foundation for absolutely everything in my life.

From balancing school, friends, social activities to the balancing act of raising children and working outside of the home, it never came about with ease. Allocating too much time to one and not enough to the other was something I thought would be a matter of priorities but when two or more things carry the same priority, how do you choose to allocate your time at that point? I had and still have policy that at least one of us would be here when the children come home from school. Let's fast forward through many years to the birth of my last daughter. I was with here all day and I worked nights. I held meetings on location or over the phone and had reports/assessments to complete among other things. My job wasn't labor intensive yet I was wiped out because I was not able to sleep after I arrived home. In the morning their father would go to work and I would take care of the little one and the house chores during the day while her sister went to school. This went on for a while until my brain could no longer take the exhaustion. I was giving all of my attention to everyone and everything else and not to myself.

When did I stop making myself a priority? When did I say it was okay to neglect myself? Aha, million dollar questions require million dollar answers, right? Not in this case. I knew the answer was a simple one yet not one I wanted to address. My frame of mind was that I could not be selfish! If I took time for myself, that I would not be giving time to something else therefore I would be failing in my responsibilities. Then logic kicked in! How could I possibly be of any good to anyone or for anything if I was in a fog, weak and tired all the time? I made big changes that impacted me in more ways that I had anticipated. I quit my job, managed my time more efficiently and tried to get some sleep. I did not expect to still have problems sleeping nor did I anticipate how much I would miss my previous job! I thought it was the fact that it provided me with many opportunities yet it was the interaction with other people and the paycheck of course that I mainly missed. It took me a while to overcome the latter two yet a good nights sleep still eluded me. I would wake up tired and feeling as if I ran a marathon each night. Flipping the mattress, new pillows, getting to bed earlier or later yet nothing worked. Frustrated from not being able fix it, I opted to wear myself out from working so hard around here until I would fall asleep from sheer exhaustion only to wake up in the middle of the night and unable to fall back asleep again. I eventually figured out what was causing the problem or so I thought at the time. Our black lab had passed away and he was my security blanket, if you will. He was always by my side day and night. That incident and the fact that my husband was working nights now caused me to stay alert and identify every little bump or noise that transpired during the night.

Like I have said in the past, knowledge is power only if you do something good or positive with that knowledge. So now that I had identified the problem I then began to leave the radio or tv on and it worked! I feel asleep and began resting better with each night. Then another unexpected thing happened. Leaving the radio or tv on stopped working and I was having trouble sleeping again. After taking the time to explore what on earth could be the problem now, I learned that I was preoccupied all of the time and growing increasingly frustrated about so many things that were going on in my life. Long story short, it took some time but I got rid of the thoughts about things I could do absolutely nothing about and focused some of my attention on things that I knew I could resolve.

It is not easy admitting ones limitations so I redefined what that actually meant to me. It's not about being limited to fix things, it's about limiting myself from moving forward if I obsess over what I can not resolve. Not sure this makes any sense to you however for me it made and makes perfect sense. I was so busy worrying about what I couldn't do a thing about that it stopped me from focusing on the things I could something about. I was limiting myself more and more over the years yet did nothing about it. My turning point came from an unexpected and greatly valuable source. The lesson learned was that it's not okay to live off balance and that I had to take back control over my life. I am sure I will have days that I will slip back to my old way of thinking yet I know better and each day will try to do better. My sleep is slowly getting back to a decent place and I owe that to being moved and inspired to balance or trying to balance my constant thoughts before I can balance my days and therefore my life.


tymba

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