Monday, September 8, 2008

Balancing Acts

I've been thinking about the way that most of the people I know seem to struggle with finding some sort of balance in their day to day lives. We all seem to be living a life that feels precariously balanced between joy and stress, work and family, obligations and abandon. How do we find the balance we crave?

I think I've been going about it all wrong. I've been thinking that balance is about my daily life. I've been trying to find ways each day to fit everything in. Work, managing a home, managing a family, making time for family fun, homework, shopping, errands, piano practice, lessons, reading to Sloane each day, listening to Sloane read each day, time talking to Jeffrey, time snuggling with Jeffrey, eating, cleaning, blogging, email, talking to my parents, connecting with friends... Holy cow! What about exercise? What about... you know? What about a hobby, a new skill, quiet time, writing in my journal, reading? There are not enough hours. It is physically impossible. No one can do everything they want or need to do.

Stick with me here. My revelation isn't the familiar, "choose your priorities because you can't have everything" thing. That's a good one, and true. But, I have something else. It feels big to me.

Life is cyclical, seasons change, fashions come back, everything is a circle. So. Why not my balancing act?

Yes. I can't do everything in one day.
Yes. There will be days when I work late and Sloane is stuck at school right along with me.
Yes. There will be times when the house is a wreck.
Yes. There will be entire weekends when we all play catch up and do nothing much but chores.
Yes. There will be friends I take a month to write back to.
Yes. My to do list will never be complete.

So what?

That's it. That's my big revelation.

So what?

Yes. I can do everything I choose to. Just not all at once.
Yes. There will be entire months of summer where none of us work at all.
Yes. Most of the time the house is beautiful and full of laughter.
Yes. There are entire weekends when Team Lawson does nothing but play, laugh, eat, and enjoy each other.
Yes. There are friends who love me, no matter how long it takes me to write back.
Yes. My to do list will never be complete. What a dull life I would have otherwise.

Life is a cycle. So, I am going to shift my perspective. No more struggles with balancing my day to day life. It will never balance. But, my life is in balance. You may have to take the long view to see it. But, I have a long memory.

I can work, parent, play, laugh, blog, run errands, be a good citizen, teach, love. Love my husband, my daughter, my family, my friends, my neighbors, my students, my world. I can read, write, travel, learn, stretch, grow, be a friend, exercise, master a new skill, organize, decorate, connect. I can do it all. Just not all at once.

Here's to balance. One lifetime at a time.

Photographers: Michaela Rae, Pink Sherbert, Hickoree. Two of the images originally seen here.


Anonymous said...


Ilove you! I wish I were home with you right now instead of working late, but thank you for this post. I needed this.

I love you! I know I already said that, but it bears repeating.


Caroline said...

What a great post! I struggle with balance and feel guilty when my to do list remains full! It's nice to know I am not the only one struggling to keep up with life. In the long run, it all works out in the end...

The Feathered Nest said...

Oh Relyn, what a wonderful, wonderful post for women....after five children, working full time, trying to keep my house immaculate I finally did realize something's gotta give and let go...I try not to worry about the little things and you have the most wonderful attitude, keep telling yourself that and all will be good!! xxoo, Dawn

JUST ME said...


This is a great post. Thanks. It's funny because my father always tells me it's all a circle Angie and here you are telling me the same. I struggle all the time. I am so tired of struggling. I hate the guilt that I feel because I can't keep up. Yes at this moment I don't have a job (am looking) and I should have my place spic and span everyday, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT..... I don't want to clean everyday.... I don't want to wash everyday.... plus if I do I am still going to have laundry tomorrow. There is always something that needs cleaning or picking up. So why do I spend so much time fretting over it. I am tired of not living because I feel everything has to be perfect in my life and IT ISN'T. RELYN I can go on but I will stop.

Loved the post and hang in there.

Take a deep is too short to take for granted.

Peace to you,


Christina said...

Indeed, you do have friends that will love you no matter...


studio wellspring said...

ah darling heart, i know this struggle so well.... balancing all the things we want to do with what we need to do, and not losing ourselves in the process. just remember to take it all one beautiful moment at a time. even the good lord took 7 days for his grand to-do list rather than trying to do it all at once {there is brilliance in including a day of rest on that list, isn't there?}. you are still an incredible inspiring beautiful lady whether you lounge in pj's all day watching old movies & eating icecream or finish 10 things on the must-do list. sending much love and balance to you!

tangobaby said...

Your photos say it all but your words are even better. Lovely post and a good lesson for all of us to take in!

I hope things balance for you quickly and smoothly!


Patti said...

Oh my! I love this post and it was exactly what I needed to hear right now at this moment (isn't life great like this?). I am currently caught in between being everything to everybody all at once AND dealing with my mom's ever increasing health issues that seem to change on a daily basis. The only good time I seem to have is in my car with the cell phone turned off and music turned on. I am missing the time I need to just be and I get quickly overwhelmed with all the "have to do nows" that I can't even think to prioritize. "I can't do it all and it's ok"- I just have to keep repeating this. Sorry so long but this really resonates with me. Thanks for posting this!!!

My Castle in Spain said...

Dear Relyn,

not only I love this post but I also love all the comments above which echo your feeling.

(I think it's so cute your husband is sending you such a lovely comment too!)

I don't have kids so I admire how you combine your family and work life which naturally must not be easy everyday.

I always try to convince myself there must be a time for everything during the day but ok, some days the flat is in a total mess because i've got to work. At times, I feel guilty because I don't have time for the love of my life.
Choices, priority ? I agree, it's not easy to find one's balance everyday so as for now I send you big hugs and wish you a lovely end of day with your dear ones....

Jessica said...

As you know, the concept of balance has been something I have been working on/struggling with/trying to understand. But, man, you've got it all right. You do!!! I'm going to keep this post with that list you told me to make and read it almost constantly as well!

Lynn said...

Lovely post -- I'll try to apply that wisdom to my own wacky, careening life! I always try to remind myself that in 15 years I will have scads of time, peace, quiet, order...and I'll probably be sad as the dickens about it!

(Your husband's comment made me grin from ear to ear, and I loved the photos...)

mscherrylane said...

hehe enjoyed this post cos I'm really feeling it...funny thing is, the only time I become aware of not having a balanced life is when I realise I'm not having enough fun/playtime LOL!

p.s thanks for your mail the other day- yes I wasn't surprised you have had some graphic training before...LOVE THE PHOTOS!

p.p.s i also love yo-yo ma- that sound was unmistakeable- I enjoy having your blog open for the background music- it's very soothing :)

bandelle said...


I just LOVE your revelation. It really made me stop and think about my perspective on life. And your blog just gives me a sense of calmness -- I don't know if it's the music, the clouds, or the honesty of your words. Enjoy Jude's Do Not Leave Unattended project and thanks for your sweet comment on my little collage.


jouette said...

such a great post &hearts: and i'm really loving the piano music too. lovely~

smith kaich jones said...

"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.” ~ Albert Einstein

One smart mammajamma. I loved this post. I loved the photos & the way they illustrated your thoughts so well & I loved your thoughts. AND I really needed to hear this right now.

Muchas gracias!!
:) Debi

robin bird said...

i do know this to be true. circles, and cycles and life moving back and forth. it has come with age for e to know this. i don't always mange to remember or live it mind you but i do know it and that counts for a lot! it's a comfort and a relief isn't it?!

Tricia said...

relyn, i am so so very glad i have found your lovely blog. your words are encouraging and honest. beautiful. i feel as if you are speaking the words i long to speak.
thank you for your many kind and generous comments. i have started twice to email you and have gotten distracted each time---sounds by this post that you would totally understand. :)
anyway, i am very glad i took the time tonight to stop by.
i will be back to visit when i can stay longer....i want to sit with a cup of tea and read every single post!!!
wishes for a lovely weekend.

dutchbaby said...

I'm convinced pacing is the secret to success. You explain this perfectly with perfect images to match. The image of the balancing rocks is particularly apt. I've played the role of every one of those rocks.

Jaime said...

loooonnnnnggggg siiiiiggghhhh.

Ahhh.. I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders after reading this post.

All I can say is,
Thank you

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