Balance is overrated. I’m pretty sure that pursuit of a balanced life might get in the way of a much more pleasing life of purpose.
I say this despite having spent a lot of time on a Gibbon Slackline (a kind of tightrope).
I have come to view balance as a very important aspect of exercise: co-ordination, spatial awareness, stability. While I’m at it, my body is literally rewiring itself, my brain reintroducing itself to and integrating with the rest of my body, while my mind empties – the perfect state for unbidden thoughts to gush in. How cool is that??
At the same time, I’m also beginning to think that’s perhaps as far as I should take the idea of balance. A good idea for exercise but a poor idea for living life.
Balance invites a tangible, measurable idea of living. A juggling act of the different parts of a compartmentalised life. For example, seeking a “work / life balance” can lead you to think that a good result is not working too many hours and ensuring you have a satisfactory allocation for living. That’s not very exhilerating. Balance is an outcome, and worse than that, it’s hardly ever attained.
Purpose is of a higher order in the way it threads through all parts of life and addresses the whole. Work, family, hobbies, exercise, whatever compartments that used to need juggling instead become integrated aspects of the same concept: the common, exciting reason for doing each of them.
If balance is an outcome, purpose is a journey.
It integrates all the physical, measureable compartments of balance, along with the more spiritual immeasurables, such as dreams, values and beliefs.
Life can be wobbly, like walking on a slackline. It doesn’t matter to me if I’m steady or not, as long as I’m happy about why I’m on it in the first place.