On Tuesday, I listened to philanthropist and humanitarian, Renata Mutis Black, discuss the challenge she faced balancing her personal and professional lives. She suggested that balance was like having “two guests in my home”, both of whom need and deserve her best.
As the radio host enthusiastically agreed, I wondered where I went wrong. I would love to balance the needs of two guests. Perhaps one would like coffee and the other tea. I can do that! Maybe one would like to go for an early morning walk and the other prefers an evening of many movies. I’ll make that happen too!
My problem is, I have eight to ten guests and not only do these folks have different needs, they don’t even metaphorically like each other. They battle each other for time and attention. Maybe if I only had four guests: perhaps work, family, friends, and my dogs; perhaps I could balance that.
But I’ve thrown in meetings, volunteerism, phone appointments, and a constant barrage of doctors, doctors, doctors. I have gotten to the point where if I make plans, I know that there is a 38.9% chance they will be canceled (okay, I made that number up).
I wish my next words were sage advice and words of wisdom. But no; instead I am just ruminating on my inability to tame time. Time has always been my most fiercely protected resource; a precious commodity. I account for every hour, every moment, like a miser counting pennies on a rickety wooden table under a flickering candle.
I like to think that the best of my time goes to God and my family, with friends and work close behind. But as each year passes life becomes more complicated, and blissful balance feels just out of reach.
But it is when I feel truly out of control, that I remind myself, that all of this nuttiness, this running, this unending list of things to do, only happens because my life is filled with people and events that bring a fullness and happiness to my life. When I remember this fact, time slows down just a tiny bit, I can breathe, and I can pretend there are only two guests needing my attention and they both want for nothing.