I’ve been away, physically in the real word and digitally from the blogosphere. I could give you a million good reasons why this happened. I don’t need excuses to justify it, but here’s what I’ve been up to lately:
- Juggling more things at work (stressful, but loving every minute of it).
- Spending time with friends and family
- A few vacations here and there
- Lack of inspiration…(Ha, who am I kidding? I have so many unpublished blog posts and ideas just waiting in the wings).
I could go on, but the important thing is this – I had to establish priorities.
I’ll admit it. I feel guilty when I can’t do it all. I feel like a failure. I put a lot of pressure on myself to give every inch of myself in every aspect of my life. I have to remind myself that I am only human and nobody can be perfect. This is something that I’ve struggled with my entire life.
I’m learning to forgive and let go. Yes, I’m sure you’re singing “Let It Go” in your head right now (or if you weren’t, you are now). Letting go isn’t defeat, it’s making smart decisions to prioritize what’s important to you, forgive yourself, and forget the rest.
I had to make the call. What is the most important thing that I have to do right now? What is most urgent? What is most necessary, based on the values and priorities I’ve set for my life.
Several times I was tortured by the decision to go to bed early or stay up to work on the blog. I made the call that sleep was more important. I needed to be well rested, alert and focused for a meeting the next day or an event with family. Do I stay at work late or meet my Dad for dinner? My relationship with my father is more important, even if that meant that I went back to work afterwards.
I admire women in charge and CEOs who appear to have it all under control. It’s refreshing to hear that they too have to make difficult choices.
Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard and formerly the CEO of eBay, shared her journey to finding work/life balance. She says that she can’t be the perfect CEO, the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect hostess, and maintain the perfect home. Whitman compares mastering work/life balance to hospital triage, when you have to determine the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition.
Triage allows hospitals to ration patient treatment efficiently when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately. The term comes from the French verb trier, meaning to separate, sift or select. Triage may result in determining the order and priority of emergency treatment, the order and priority of emergency transport, or the transport destination for the patient.
In short, Whitman gave up the notion that she could be perfect at everything and decided to focus on work, her husband, and her children. “You have to figure out what’s most important, what you’re good at, what you can let go of, and that’s the only way you can manage all of this,” she said in an interview.
This is a lot of pressure in our society to strive towards an ideal, perfectly balanced life. There are many impossible expectations and people who (appear) to be reaching them. In my personal experience, I’ve found that real life is closer to having one foot on each side of the seesaw. In order to maintain balance, each side has to give and take a little at different times. It’s never perfectly balanced.
I’ve also discovered that it’s okay to be a little selfish. It’s okay to set aside personal time to read a book or stare at the TV for an hour. It’s okay to take a shower and go the bed early with a wet head. It’s okay to forego laundry and take a siesta on the couch if you need a lazy Sunday. I’m not apologizing for any of it. I need to restore, relax, and do something for myself.
I’ll conclude with a final word to the woman/man in the mirror (you). You are good enough just as you are. There’s no need to be perfect. Balance is an art and takes practice. We just need to determine where our time is best spent, embrace imperfection, forgive and let go.