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The Pursuit of Balance

It’s been entirely too long since I’ve posted here. Excuses are futile, but I do have my justifications. Life has a way of getting in the way. Luckily I have been writing, just not here, but on at; I just completed a contract as a Blogger and would appreciate it if you checked my work out 😊. Simply, I couldn’t balance writing for day job, my side-job, and as my hobby.

Like for so many, 2020 hit me like a train. As summer trudges toward its faraway close, time seems endless, yet persistent. It’s a soft whisper I can hardly hear, it’s a wave of urgency, reminding me that I have so much to do. The words don’t seem right on the page. It’s hard to put my finger on. Explaining the meaning is difficult.

Balance has always been the issue. So suddenly, when I think I have my priorities and routine in order, things shift. A simple, yet devastating diagnosis of cancer within my immediate family, and forcing the acceptance of withdrawing friendship from a long-lost love threw everything off. A broken heart comes with the added burden of drawing lessons to learn. Or else, all the months are wasted. So much is cemented in my psyche. I didn’t walk away sooner.

For so long, the ground I stood on wasn’t solid. Chunks would crumble away: and I watched. As I sunk, overwhelmed by everything, time seemed to slow. It lingered with a certain foggy tightness, like I wasn’t breathing. Each day revolved around something much more significant than my work and writing. I looked outside of myself, striving to focus on more pressing matters.

I forgot about myself. I forgot about my purpose and motivation. Updating a personal blog became something like a chore, an afterthought, rather than the platform where I could exercise and hone my talents.

I withdrew, retreated. I had to recalibrate, recalculate, refocus. Stepping back, I thought heavily about the significance of balance: I have to learn how to look both inward and outward. Now, I hone in. The thoughts are being made. My intentions are becoming more solid each day. It’s a matter of actually acting, rather than thinking. While I value my introspection and reflection, actual meaningful action makes them reality. My intentions must be given life.

Waiting in silence does not mean I don’t care. I exercise patience, yet I wait for nothing. While I hesitate, I must jump. That’s how we keep moving forward.

Re-centering, my days are much more hopeful. I try to do things for me. Although, it’s most rewarding when the actions benefit everyone. This morning I baked a quiche and a cheesecake. I’m writing outside right now. I didn’t write because I was getting paid to today, today I am writing for myself. There’s something so rewarding and mighty about that statement. There’s no deadline looming over my head, it’s one that’s self-imposed. There’s power in holding yourself accountable, and proving that you can do it. You are capable. I can, I can, I can.

My spinach and cheese quiche

Sitting outside does wonders. I didn’t understand it when I was a kid. I would bore, and wander away to find some new source of entertainment. I think my dogs inspired me, now I try to follow their example and sit outside, just listening and looking. Now I breathe. Whether the air is humid and muggy, or cold and crisp, I breathe deep. I look at the clouds. The trees sway. I watch bugs crawl or fly by. Birds squabble on the power lines, and squirrels search for food. Logos on the airplanes flying westward to the runways at O’Hare catch my eye. Simplicity centers me. The sun is so warm.

Some amber waves of grain at the dog park

Baking and cooking is a great space for my creativity. I can express myself in a plate of food. I can show myself how much I care by preparing something nourishing, or indulgent. Health doesn’t just exist in low-calorie, zero fat, unsatisfying meals. Health is about the whole, I find joy in eating both vegetable stir-fries and baking cheesecakes. I exist somewhere between minimalism and extravagance, and there’s no shame in admitting that.

A return to my treadmill reminds me of so much. I can be dedicated. With determination, I can keep the 70ish pounds I lost off, can keep going. Through hard work and sweat, I can show myself that I am worth the effort. While I may not run the fastest, or longest, I know I have grit. Although, it usually takes a lot of convincing, and I groan through my workouts, exercising has become a sacred space. I cherish the moments where I get to be physically active; in those moments, I always feel closer to myself.

One day at a time, that’s how I must take things. I may stumble, but getting back up and trying again is the true mark of greatness. While I may dream about and plan for all the endless question marks in my future, and while the edge of uncertainty looms, each day must be conquered. One by one. I think it’s easier to get by that way.

Me, balancing on a little ledge

And I will be okay.

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