to believe that three years ago I was complaining that I was bored. My life
felt empty and lacked purpose. I was lonely and felt trapped in a life that I
had outgrown (but felt too scared to re-imagine). I struggled to get to sleep at
night, and didn’t understand why.
having moved countries, found a new social circle, discovered my life purpose,
started my spiritual business and a new relationship, I am so bereft of ‘spare time’
that I am considering sending out a search party for it.
where I once was, this is a pretty great problem to have.
something I’ve been trying to remind myself when I feel panicky about the
dust piling up on my furniture (really must make cleaning a priority!) or my
poor track record when it comes to catching up with friends (thank goodness for
instant messaging!). There is vastly more right with this picture than there is
wrong. And actually, what appears wrong is simply the result
of my change-resistant, controlly brain trying to, well, resist change and be
wonderful Kris Carr recently posted a quote online that hit the mark for me: “Don’t
forget how badly you once wanted what you have now.”
forgotten. I had forgotten what it was like to not be the me that I am now.
Instead of focusing on my gratitude for how far I had come, I was focusing on
the areas where I was (or at least, I perceived I was) falling short. I was
looking at the hole, instead of the doughnut.
When I focus my attention on all the blessings in my life, and how far I’ve
come, my discomfort at what isn’t perfect shrinks. Would a sparkling-clean
kitchen make my heart sing? Unlikely. And it wouldn’t lessen my sense of
overwhelm either – because I would still have plenty on my plate. The only
solution, then, is acceptance. My life is busy, sure, and often tiring, but it
is also rich and love-filled and glorious.
life feels shambolic, and there’s not much you can do to change that, you can
still change the way you look at it.
author Elizabeth Gilbert rails against use of the word ‘balance’. She is
constantly asked in magazine interviews and reader meet-and-greets how she
achieves balance. Unfortunately, this is a question that, as a journalist, I’m
required by editors to ask every woman I interview (NEVER men – which tells you
exactly how fucked up the concept of ‘balance’ is). Gilbert objects to the
question on the grounds that the word balance has, she writes, “tilted dangerously
close to the word perfect”.
“To say that someone has found the secret to a balanced life is to suggest that
they have solved life, and that they now float through their days in a constant
state of grace and ease, never suffering stress, ambivalence, confusion,
exhaustion, anger, fear or regret. Which is a wonderful description of nobody,
ever,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
argues there is no such thing as balance, so seeking it is an exercise in
futility. Her solution, instead, is to embrace the madness. Life is as messy as
a dropped pie, she says, and instead of wasting energy trying to put it back
together, the only solution is to grab a fork and eat a mouthful as you
continue on your way.
Here is my solution: I am not trying to fix my out-of-kilter
schedule. I am, however, getting better at saying ‘no’ to people so that I am
not running myself completely ragged, and I am making regular downtime a
priority amid the chaos. I am doing my best to keep in contact with friends
electronically, and I am trying to make the time I spend with people quality
time (instead of snatched bursts of hurried conversations with one eye on my phone). This is the best I can do
right now. And that is enough.
to stop worrying about not having enough time, and instead, to change the way
we think about time. To recognise and celebrate all that makes our lives so wonderful and fulfilling, and to acknowledge that we are doing the very best we can.
It’s also – since I’ve put the idea in your head – time to eat a doughnut. Or a pie.