Balance, The Double-Edged Sword
As I was driving home, the warmth of late spring sun still radiating on my skin, I felt a rush of emotions. That giddy sense of carefree happiness was suddenly dampened with pangs of guilt and confusion.
I had been avoiding confronting these feelings for a while, but finally it was in sharp focus: “ahh yes, this is what I’ve been missing for almost two years: a social life.”
For the first time in a long time, I’ve been able to get out of my own way and actually have a little fun, meet new friends, reconnect with old ones and turn down the incessant to-do list drumming in my ear at all times.
As a result, I’ve had more of those “carefree happy moments” in the past 3 months than I had in the past two years. My baseline happiness level would be unrecognizable to the Georgie I was 6 months ago.
Which is all fine and dandy but it comes at a cost.
A cost I had been trying to reconcile, or straight up deny, but that I knew in my gut was there from day one. The truth is: I owe much of my success in blogging to my relentless pursuit of growth and willingness to sacrifice what most people would consider a “normal” work life balance.
It wasn’t until I started dating again, that I realized I had pretty much been dating my blog. I was over there on a pretty little “I just want to be single” pedestal until I realized I had transferred all of my overthinking, hyper-focus tendencies to my bae: In it 4 the Long Run. I mean, I’m still living la vida soltera, but it was a pretty alarming realization when I understood just how much of my head space and mental energy has been devoted to this blog.
Before moving back home, I knew my life wasn’t really “balanced” by pretty much anyone’s definition. It looked a lot like this: wake up, gym, eat, job, blog, blog, eat, sleep, repeat. As a result, I was focused as hell and put all of my energy into that one thing. It also served as an excuse and escape from everything that I knew I had to deal with eventually; like you know, meeting new people, dealing with toxic relationships, figuring out the whole “how the eff do I do this this whole personal finance ish as a 20-something.”
And while I wasn’t always happy, I felt driven and purposeful and on a path I wanted to be on. I had my bullet proof excuse to run from everything else. I took pride in being unbalanced and I felt like I couldn’t step away. Any social FOMO was transferred to blogging FOMO. I never felt burnt out or tired of blogging. It’s one of those things that lit me up no matter what.
That kind of singular focus and drive does wonders for growth. I started earning an income from this thing I worked tirelessly at. I started building more connections online. I felt I had found a real cadence and voice. One area of my life was actually thriving: my blog.
When I decided to quit my job and leave Boston it was because of my blog. My plan for being on Nantucket for 10 months, working at a coffee shop and living at home felt like a recipe for more singular focus and an ability to create a spring board for taking In it 4 the Long Run to the next level.
But something truly unexpected started to happen.
Thanks to working at legitimately the happiest coffee shop on the planet (thanks Jason!) the good vibes just started rubbing off. I learned to actually enjoy small talk *gasp* which lead to actually making new friends *shocker* and bit by bit I came out of my introverted shell. Obviously, I still cherish my alone time, but I’m willing to get out of my comfort zone more and more knowing how great it feels to share a great conversation, a hug, a smile, an experience with other people. I think I’ve given (and received) more hugs in the past 6 months than I have in the last 6 years… I’m not kidding.
So here I am driving home in early June feeling conflicted. Loving the community of humans on this island, but feeling the ramifications of losing the singular focus. Knowing that maybe doing what I need to be happy will come at a cost to my short term success. It’s that uncomfortable falling back you feel on the seesaw watching as the other person rises up and you dip down. I’m just trying to figure out how I hard I want to push up again.
That’s the thing with balance. It’s not really ever balanced.
It’s tipping scales back and forth every day, every month, every season. Trying new weights every time as your life expands.
It’s the paradox of knowing that the only life you have is the one you are living right now, but being able live it for the long run. It’s YOLO and FOMO vs. sacrifice and hustle. You need them all but you can’t have them all. It’s being cool that you’re life is going to change and you’re going to change and your priorities are going to change and your definition of success and happiness is going to change.
I don’t have an answer necessarily for this conundrum. In fact I don’t think I ever will or anyone ever will.