The past two years have been a blur of deadlines and due dates, one after the other. Whether it was a due date of an essay or my baby girls birth or a deadline to renew my business license or register for classes, there was always something pressing me onto the next thing, onto the next moment. This is common in most peoples lives. The days just keep coming, we check off our to do lists and life moves on.
Usually, I can keep up. For two years it seemed like no matter the circumstance I barely missed a beat. Through it all, and it was ALOT! There I was, a wife, a mother, a student, a Realtor, a business owner, a service dog trainer – whatever hat I needed to wear – I’d wake up, put it on, and run out the door as fast as I could. Most days it didn’t even phase me, people would ask how I was juggling it all and I didn’t even know what they meant by “it all” until they’d point it out. All I saw were my end goals.
So each day passed by and I did what I had to do. I went to class, went to work, went to my daughters ballet, went to my daughters surgeries and doctors appointments, went grocery shopping, went car shopping, went house shopping, got into more debt, worked more, went to class more and continued through the cycles. I didn’t really check in with myself to ask how I was feeling, or look in the mirror long enough to see what my body was saying, I was just running everywhere and doing everything I thought I had to do because that was “how the system worked”.
Somehow I did that for two years without even blinking, and then last week I woke up and BOOM I had been sick for two months straight. The longest I’ve ever been sick for. Really sick, like wake up in the middle of the night and take yourself to the ER sick. I went to the ER three times in 6 weeks because I couldn’t breathe. I had blood drawn six times in six weeks trying to figure out what was wrong. I had my menstrual cycle every 11 days for months straight. I gained 10lbs in two months. For 7 weeks I would go through my day whispering to people because my voice was gone entirely. Finally after two months with no improvement after a round of antibiotics, a 5 day steroid and testing negative for strep, MONO and the flu a doctor said to me “The only other thing I could think of would be throat cancer, but you’re not a smoker and you’re very young so I doubt that is it so just wait to see the ENT on April 15th and see what they say”.
When she said that I couldn’t believe it. I had to ask her to explain herself. There I was just running through my day expecting her to tell me it was still just laryngitis and WHACK the possibility of cancer. I couldn’t sleep that night, or the night after. Finally, I called my other doctor and told her my concern and she booked me for a throat CT the very next day. That’s when things got a little surreal. I started questioning my life. If I did have cancer would I be living the same way? Would I be doing the same things? Would I be saying (or not saying) the same things? Would I be working so much? I just kept asking myself, what would I be doing?
As I was thinking about those things I got stuck in traffic driving past a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote that read “Life is a journey, not a destination”. As cliche as it sounds although I’d seen this quote a million times it seemed so profound to me. As if it was there in plain sight as my answer. These past two years I have planned every step of my life from when to get pregnant to when to vacation, to when to buy a home, to try to reach my end goals by a certain deadline and it seems like no matter how well I plan something always seems to happen and my “final destination” or ETA changes. Throughout the past two years especially that’s been ever so frustrating to me. Then I saw that quote and pictured my life as if it were to end tomorrow, and all of the sudden it was like I had an epiphany.
Later that day I emailed the head of my program, put in the required documents and submitted my medical withdraw. Then I moved my summer classes to Fall and started to plan a summer vacation. Inside I felt like crying thinking about all the early mornings and late nights I had spent studying the past few months and how much I wasted on tuition but the other half of me was jumping for joy knowing that my grades for that semester didn’t reflect the true me, they reflected the sick me, and I’d get a second chance on those classes and now I could finally rest and rebalance.
It was the first time I felt like I had failed in a long time but the feeling of failure only lasted a day or two and then I picked myself up and began to refocus. Each day since I’ve tried to slow down, and balance, to give myself more grace, to give others around me less judgement, to give my kids more present undivided time, and my husband more authenticity. Finding balance isn’t easy, I think that’s why they call it a balancing act because no one really has it figured out entirely were all just working on the act.
My challenge to you this week is to try to find balance in something that seems off. It could be in your personal, business or self relationships. It could be talking too much and not listening enough. It could be listening too much and not speaking up. It could be moving too much or not holding still. It could be eating too much or not eating enough. It could be working too much and not enjoying enough or enjoying to much and not working enough.
Whatever area of your life that seems to be lacking chances are the opposite is flourishing. Find that area of your life and do your best to balance it. Because even though I have a few more doctor appointments in the upcoming weeks to figure out what’s going on on the outside my inside is already beginning to feel more balanced and it seems easier to do silly little things like hop around with my daughter or get out of the house and walk around.