Monday, September 25, 2006

Still Trying to Keep My Balance

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As a child from a very small town, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a really amazing gymnastics camp with my cousins in Dallas when I was around nine or ten. While I was not at all talented in gymnastics, I was thrilled to just be in a gymnasium with the equipment I watched my favorite Olympic stars perform upon every few years. The rings, the uneven bars, the pummel horse, and the balance beam--they were all there for me to try and I fantacized about being the next Mary Lou Retton or Nadia Comaneci.

I loved everything I tried that week of gymnastics camp, except for one thing. The balance beam ended up being the one apparatus that frightened me the most. It sounds so silly, that I'd be daring enough to put both my legs in the men's rings and allow teachers to swing me back and forth so high in the air, and yet one plank of stabilized wood sent my legs into tremble mode. (Later, I had the same fear when it came to the hurdles in track.)

Our instructors would lift us up on the low beam, which was only about two feet off the ground and we'd run along it. Then, we were told to climb up on the high beam, which stood a good 5-6 feet high and do the same. But, from the moment I scrambled upon it, I would be shaking. The other kids in line would tell me to hurry up, but I just could not move quickly for fear of falling, even though there were thick pads beneath us to catch any sort of fall. Slowly and steadily I'd get to the end with all the kids in line behind me annoyed and the teacher looking at me perplexed.

Balance has always been a challenge in my life, be it spending too many hours in the office and not enough time at home, to scrapbooking into the wee morning hours and making myself exhausted on the following day. No matter how many years are past me, I still struggle with the balance. Much like my trembling ankles on that high beam, I struggle to keep things moving swiftly, always worried about falling from where I am. And, yet, life keeps throwing me things randomly that make it harder and harder to stay on point.

Since being diagnosed with diabetes more than a year ago, I have yet to find a balance when it comes to what I need to change in my diet and exercise. I have yo-yo'd from eating no carbohydrates and losing a good amount of weight, to eating poorly and gaining a lot of it back. Exercise has gone much better, but I still have weeks where I find it hard to fit it all in, although I know I must.

I try to balance my time at my church and with worship, with the other things I am responsible for each day, always finding myself offering to do more than I really have the time or energy to do.

As amazing as it sounds, I struggle more to balance my time now that I'm not employed in an office. When you are working in the home all day to raise your kids, it is hard to distinguish when it is a good time to clean, a good time to play with the kids, and when it is the best time to take a little personal time for yourself.

And now, I'm responsible for two other little souls and keeping their lives in balance? That's really a scary thing for me! When my sister and I were kids, we did not have balance. Our mother was a taxi cab service for us and our many activities. Our parents never told us "no," when it came to things that we wanted to do. Consequently, I never had the time to really focus fully on one thing--and therefore I never felt like I was the best I could be. In high school alone, I played basketball, volleyball, ran track and cross-country, was a competitive baton twirler on the weekends and also for my high school, and I also played an instrument during the concert season for band. This can take a toll on your esteem when you're already a perfectionist.

I think that my 30s will be defined by one thing--finding my balance. Living my life feeling as if I'm six feet above ground and juggling everything, all the while trying to keep my footing, is the greatest challenge I will ever have. I only hope that I can stay steady and feel like I've gotten my footing once I hit my 40s.

Most of all, I hope that when I get to the end of the beam, I can look back and see that nothing dropped and the shaky walk was well worth it.

The theme at Mama Says Om this week is Balance. Go read what others contributed this week or contribute something on your own!


Blogger Vanessa said...

You know what? When you reach your forties and look back, you'll think you did a pretty good job at balancing and you'll wonder why you worried so much about it in your thirties. You sound like a VERY balanced person who's a good mom and a good person.

6:06 PM, September 25, 2006  
Blogger Tamara said...

I am right there with you. I can never handle everything. It seems like if I'm taking care of my body with diet and exercise, I'm not writing enough. When I'm going to synagogue as much as I want to, I look up and I haven't had a date with my husband in months. Or finally I'm doing all those things, but the house is a pit and there are dishes well balanced and very high in the sink. If you find the secret, let me know...

7:57 AM, September 26, 2006  
Blogger Jen said...

Great reflection on balance! I think a lot of us have that challenge in parenthood. Thanks for sharing!

4:00 PM, September 26, 2006  
Blogger Nancy Bea said...

Very well said. I suspect you are well-balanced, even if it doesn't always feel that way.

8:04 AM, September 27, 2006  

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