This week my tiny San Diego apartment will serve as a bed and breakfast—well not quite, but I can pretend. I couldn’t be more excited for our guest and a half that will occupy the air mattress in our living room for the next 5 days. My partner’s sister and 9 month old niece are visiting from Chicago.
Having family or friends in town is something we look forward to and savor, especially when they live across the country. However, those of us that are a bit more ‘Type A’ can sometimes feel a bit crazed when our schedule gets stirred up. When do you squeeze in your runs and spin workouts without leaving your guests hanging? This is something I have not quite perfected and I often stress over. But how important is it really?
One of the (many) things I need to work on is the way I prioritize my life. My health is so important to me that sometimes it trumps time with loved ones, but clearly that is not healthy in itself. Balance is something I find hard to achieve. The things I value most are health, knowledge, adventure, diversity, faithfulness, peace, strength, and trust. The problem is that it can be hard to balance all of these.
I want to constantly be learning, so I try to read non-fiction and watch documentaries. I want to be healthy so I exercise and eat well. I want to be a good partner so I try to be present when I am with my significant other. I want peace within (and out) so I try to meditate and practice yoga. The problem is, there are only 24 hours in a day and I work full time like most of society. How do you know when to choose one activity over the other? If I value them all equally do I meditate or run? Do I spend time with my partner or read? It’s a sticky situation and the perfectionist mentality causes you to feel bad when you can’t do it ALL.
Running can teach us a thing or two about balance. You have to balance your long runs with your weekday shorter runs, your speed workouts with your recovery runs. You learn that you can’t run at your race pace every day, and shouldn’t do long runs back to back. You need to balance your runs with core work and strengthening exercises. Everything comes down to balance. To enjoy something and get the most out of it, you need to include its counterpart. It makes you stronger even if you don’t like it. Jeez, you think with my love of running I would have a great understanding on how to balance my life.
The next five days will be an experiment with balance. I will be pushed out of the comfort of my routine and be forced to live in the moment. This week my goal is to throw away my schedule and let the days flow whichever way they wish- and even harder, not to feel guilty about it!. It will be interesting to see if I feel more balanced, or less.