balance

Balancing Act

At what age do you find a healthy life balance? Is it possible to always be in balance? I think about the balance in life a lot.

Today I think about the life balance of my teen. Balancing the rigorous school requirements. Adding in daily sports commitments. Homework. Friends. Boyfriend. Weekend out of town. Late night out on a school night for a birthday celebration. Go. Go. Go. Not slow. Just go. Just go hard. Just go now. Just keep going. It’s a vicious cycle. Where is the balance? Is there the possibility of balance without letting something or somebody down?

As an adult the roles shift but the question still remains the same. Eat, sleep, work, chores, deadlines, friends, health appointments, kid appointments, significant other time, caregiver time, emotional support, laundry, emergencies, bills, travel, and the list can go on and on. Is it possible to balance it all, everyday for infinity? Is that even realistic?

Sometimes my balanced state is my time in the car. The time I drive from point A to point B. Sometimes I even take the long way. Just to let the stillness continue. My time alone. My time to think or maybe not think at all. My time to pause the crazy schedule, routine or even have to’s. A new scenery. A time to readjust or realign my expectations.

If I miss my car time because I get a phone call demanding my time and attention I lose my balance. If I miss this opportunity, I have to find another way to reset the balance. A walk. A break to play with my dogs. Maybe even a nap at an odd time. It’s taken me many years to figure out what my healthy balance is. However, I worry about today’s kids. How do they find their balance in our crazy world? 

Born into digital life, some kids lack problem solving abilities or basic social skills. This is concerning because they may never figure out balance or pausing the noises of life, especially the digital distractions. Add in unrealistic expectations across the board and balance goes to the wayside.

As I wrap up this post I am leaving you with a challenge.

Challenge yourself to find new ways to balance your life. Talk to a friend about the topic and see if you can challenge a friend to work on their balance. I’m obviously hoping for a domino effect. Drop us a line to tell us what you did to balance your life. 

Balance away!

mental health

Sincerity

It was a stupid week. Too much going on to even think about, much less write about. Everything was coming at me faster than I could understand. Get up, go to the gym, get dressed, try to accomplish as much as possible at work, errands and events after work, home, reset, repeat. It was a blur.

Finally, Friday. Dragging as I made it to work. The bell rings, another day begins. Hundreds of kids rolling in on the big yellow buses. All the drivers waiting for me to open the front door to the school. The seconds tick. Tasks are unfinished. Everyone looking for me to get it all going. I’m 30 seconds late. Just keep moving. Execute, execute, execute.

The whoosh of the cold hits me and I brace. Before I even get the doors propped open kids are flooding by, behind my back, at a full sprint. I feel like a jammed object in the middle of a flood. Getting in the way of progress as everything rushes by. I wish I could just let go and float along with them all.

But, instead I have to account for all the buses that have arrived and get everyone heading on their way to their next destination. Walk, look, check off, walk, look, check off. Not really in one of my bright, bubbly “good morning!” moods.

I get to the front bus, the daycare bus, and make a point to stop and say hello to Hector. An older man. He is always first in line. He is kind and affable. He made it a point to ask me my name about a month into school. He greets me by name every morning and asks me how I am. This day, on the Friday before Valentine’s, I wave and say “Hello, Hector!” before I’m turning to pivot and head back down the long row of buses. He calls to me by name and I walk back, sort of impatient. He’s standing at his bus door with a box of chocolates.

“Take two of your favorites,” he says, handing me a variety pack of Lindor truffles.

Um, what??!?!?

The productivity part of me says, I don’t have time for this right now. I’m holding up bus drivers who have schedules. Routes. Execute, execute, execute. But then he just talks to me about how much he likes seeing me every morning. How he enjoys our little chats. He wanted me to have something sweet for Valentine’s Day. He was in no rush, despite the masses of kids and tasks that were waiting on him. He looked me in the eyes, genuine. Sincere. I stopped and let those precious seconds sink in. I chose a red wrapper and a blue wrapper (IYKYK) and smiled, handing him back the box. Then he waved, put on his seat belt, and rolled out.

In my life’s flood of fakery and rushing to the next thing, Hector stopped time with this simple gesture. He reminded me how it is possible to just be present and sincere, and how much that means. In my rush to get things done, I miss so much. People don’t need 18 roses or a fireworks display. A simple gesture complete with sincerity can change someone’s whole day. What can you do to stop time and sincerely connect with someone else today?

nature

Snowy Sunday

All we heard all week on the tv, online, at work, and on the radio: the upcoming cold front that would include snow and ice or a mix of whatever would arrive and cripple the roadways. Be prepared for Snowmageddon because we rarely get snow. The grocery store was out of most good items by Thursday. No hamburger or chicken. Milk and eggs were scarce, too. As folks prepared to buckle down, life still went on for me and my crew.

It was about 10pm on Saturday night as our evening wore down. At the same time the crisp air began to get a little extra chilly. We hunkered down for the night. The wind was the first thing to wake me early early Sunday morning. The trees were swaying with wind gusts up to 60mph according to news reports. I sat and ate my breakfast by the window just watching with a hot cup of tea. The homemade version of medicine ball tea from Starbucks. A few branches broke. A tall but thin pine leaned over but was caught by another. The limbs were looking so heavy yet the sight was beautiful.

The snow accumulated as the day passed. Some sleet hit. Back to fluffy snow again. The dogs had their coats on and had some play time. I opted for no snowman this year. It’s not often we see snow therefore it was a fun play date for the dogs and equally fun to watch. The power flickered. We lost power for a short time but it was daylight so all was good. 

A few movies were played and the internet was blazing until we heard a boom. About 4:49 the loud sound hit. With the boom came a flicker. After the flicker the power was gone. I’m sure a transformer was blown. As the dark settles in for night, we hunker down with blankets and extra layers for a new storm experience. A candle is burning in each room for light. The pups are napping as is my crew.

While all is quiet I wrote away on my phone. The light shining while I still have battery juice to entertain me. A few texts here and there. A check on the power website for updates. A cookie to snack on. Oh how the silence can be golden but how you hear different sounds you may miss on a day with sounds galore. I’m also enjoying the scents of my candles as they float through each room. Another level of calm as the chill sets in the house air.

The road is idle due to weather leaving no sounds there. The kids that once played outside are now tucked inside, hopefully still dry and warm. I do hear a mouth breather napping and I also hear a snore here and there. A few creatures lick their chops now and again or let out a big stretch.

Maybe it’s time to crank up the generator or have an impromptu night in the camper. My snowy Sunday is a powerless one or has been for a few hours now. Off to put my hat on (inside) and prep for dinner which seems like it will require me to go outside to use the grill to cook. Baby it’s cold outside.

awareness

Flipping Your Sign

A long-standing local restaurant in an area out of state. Breakfast is their specialty. We settle in and start to scan the menu for something delicious.

As usual, I read all the reviews through yelp to see what people say is good, great, not-to-be-missed, and skippable.

Then I notice some reviews and a photo that mention little stands in the middle of each table. They are happy / sad faces…bright and flippable. When you need something from a server, flip to the sad face. If you’re all good, keep it happy.

As a former longtime-server, this made mountains of sense to me. A quick scan of the room and I can exactly which tables need something. I don’t have to interrupt people every few minutes and I don’t have to guess. Just flip the sign and I’ll come over to turn that frown back upside down.

Then I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if people just had these signs every day? If you’re having a tough time, flip to your frowny face. Need a lift, show us that pout. If you’re all good, beam that smile.

The trouble is, we often have to decipher what people need. People wear masks. Or they just plain hide. You can’t just scan the room and know who needs what and who is all good.

Lord knows I’d be happy to warm up your coffee or bring you extra syrup. I’d even be happy just to chat a bit if that’s what you need.

Here’s your invitation to just flip your sign over if you’re having a rough time. Reach out and tell someone.

And on the flip side, read the room to see if anyone has “flipped their sign” over – are they acting differently than usual? Has anyone dropped out of sight?

The signs are often there if we are paying attention.

A little life lesson from the breakfast spot out of town.

awareness, mental health, perspective

Paths, Loss, and Lessons

How do people lose sight of what they have right in front of them? People, possessions, relationships, amongst others.

Life is full of choices and paths. Sometime we take the right path while other times we don’t. Some paths are smooth while others are bumpy. No two paths are ever the same.

Bumpy roads lead to some of the best life lessons. The important part of life lessons is when one actually learns from said lesson. Unfortunately, many miss the bigger message when it’s right in front of them.

I am at a loss sometimes when people can’t see what’s right in front of them. They don’t see the indirect messages or clues. They don’t hear the direct communication. They just see themselves.

Then I hit pause. Is it that they don’t hear or they choose not to listen? Is there a difference? Why yes there is a difference and it is a choice.

Listening is a form of art. Listening means sharing in the pain or glory of others. Listening means giving of yourself. If somebody close to you isn’t listening to you, they are making a choice. They are choosing themselves over you.

To me they chose the wrong path. The path that ends in loss. The loss could be big or it could be small. No matter the size it’s loss. For those who suffer a loss or get lost in themselves and forget about what’s in front of you, I hope you realize the lesson that you should learn.

Never take life or people for granted. They may be here today and gone tomorrow. Don’t miss your opportunity.

This post was written in honor of Suicide Prevention Month (September 2021).