Monday, April 13, 2009

Who promised us "balance" anyway?

In her Monday Musings post today, Octamom wrote on the subject of balance in our lives. Can we attain it? Is it feasible?

"Is that ideal of 'balance' just a 21st century dream...did our ancestors ponder on such things?"

I think just the fact that we spend so much time pondering the notion of balance is a statement on how far we have strayed from the reality of our ancestor's lives.

With the exception of the wealthy who had a staff to negotiate the duties of running a home and family, I doubt that most of our ancestors even had the time to spare to consider the notion of balance. Whether agrarian or post industrial, there was simply too much to do in the course of a day.

People worked their entire lives

....without days off, without timesaving equipment and comforts that we often take for granted

....without the notion that someday their "work" responsibility would cease and they would retire and do nothing

....without the guilt associated with trying to do it or have it all, and failing to feel comfortable with the outcome.

Well, maybe they did feel guilty.

It's probably fair to assume that whenever and wherever one has lived, it would be impossible to get it all done. Some days would be easier, some fraught with challenges. Some days would be full of joy, some filled with worry and anguish. We, as they surely did, just have to go to bed at the end of the day knowing we did the best we could with what we had.

Let's stop torturing ourselves with the notion that we can balance on that high wire. Everyone who tries to walk that high wire falls...EVERYONE. Life should be more like riding a swing: you'll have highs and lows put if you keep pumping you'll have the breeze in your face and you'll get a pretty good view at the top!


grammy said...

That last paragraph was really good. I totally agree how different it would be for our ancestors to consider 'balance' in their life. Survival would be more the word for them. I have a journal from great great (I am not sue how great) Grandmother. Just to get through the number of children she lost in her life would be more than most of us could endure. She dyed her cloth for pete sake...
The balance thing could be taken different ways though. My kids (and other young families I see) have some many things calling for their time that I never had to consider. The cell phone...the computer, the know what I mean. So much to take them away from family and friends....I would love to encourage them to "Balance' that stuff. When there is no time in the week to go over the spelling words ( or whatever) with the child...maybe they need to learn to cut out something else. Sorry to rant, but it was a good post and brings up issues for me.

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope you will come back soon and meet Baby Jack.

Octamom said...

Love, love your imagery of balanced life being a 'swing'--up and downs, lows and highs--beautiful!


Joyce said...

Hello, One Mom,
I completely agree with what you have to say here.

Without reading your post first, I typed up something similar. A friend suggested that I watch a DVD entitled "1900 House" and another "Frontier House." Modern day folks are placed in a typical living situation for those time periods. I'm very much looking forward to watching and learning!