Please excuse my appearance, but I’m completely off balance these days. I thought I had it all together, thought I finally had a grasp on things but no. My proverbial plate is too full and now the damn thing has overflowed.
Life on the road can be stressful, mainly because you never quite know what will happen next, but life in one place? Turns out the switch between traveler and expat hit me much harder than I could have expected. Now we have a lease on a house, Lila’s in school, and we have work. We are committed.
Yes. Committed. A double-edged sword of a word, isn’t it?
Then there’s our one-year old NGO Cloudhead Art. This last year founding, developing and maintaining a new business has been amazing, but he pace is wicked fast and too often feel I’m struggling to keep up. There is so much to do and only two people doing it.
Thus my life too often feels like triage. I run from one line of my to-do list to the next, never quite paying complete attention to anything and never finding time to properly rest.
How can I slow myself down enough to enjoy life?
As I’ve struggled with all this, I’ve come up with four different reasons why life balance — too often happiness as well — eludes us.
1. We’re searching for something missing in our lives.
This is how I felt when living in NYC. Not at first, mind you. I loved and still do love the the place, but after ten years, I was exhausted. I felt stuck, angry, uncomfortable. I just wanted to be free.
So then, I was free! Free to travel, see new places and eventually stopped in Salta. Now, four years later, we live in a beautiful house, Lila is happy. Our business is going well, and I work overlooking the most peaceful beautiful view imaginable.
I have everything I could want, so why so unhappy little bear?
2. We’re adjusting to something new.
I recently saw Facebook status update from Paulo Coelho saying: Change is part of life. Friction is part of change. Get used to it.
Yes, change is a part of life, and often the good, happy sort takes as much adjustment as the really hard painful kind. Perhaps the key is to simply, as Coelho suggests, accept it. Let it just exist and eventually, friction wears down to comfort again.
3. We Need Something New
So it stands to reason, that if change is a normal healthy part oflife, if you’re not changing, you’re stagnating and thus will feel friction from that as well. Sort of can’t win on the happiness train, can you? Then again, it’s not really so much about winning as it is realizing that life is a cycle of constant movement.
This is different from my first point in that you can have everything you want in your life, nothing is missing, but you are searching for change. Many times, you simply need to shake things up before going back to your life as it was.
4. We Always Want More, More, More
You’re thinking of the future and past, what you used to have, what you hope to have. You look at your life, house, career, spouse and friends seeing what isn’t there, what could be, what used to be. Worst of all, when you turn this eye on yourself, the criticism will be the most harsh.
This sort of thinking leaves us permanently dissatisfied, because when you’re always searching, you’re never just living in the moment in which nothing really in particular is happening.
Peace lives in those moments.
So Where Do I Go From Here?
I sit here at home typing with a gentle breeze blowing through the kitchen, birds of all ilk chirping and still I wonder to why I can’t shake this feeling. I don’t feel myself anymore.
Then I realize, perhaps it is not that I am somehow not myself. Instead, there is a part of me that will always remain off balance until I make the clear choice to shift my thinking.
“How?” you may wonder. Well, first step is recognizing why you feel the way you do. Then you can start making a change.