Balanced is not my middle name. There are many adjectives that could be substituted for the middle name printed on my birth certificate–friendly, loyal, hard-working, honest, funny, impatient, shy–but “balance” isn’t on that list.
I have an all-or-nothing personality. If I have decided to do something, then whatever happens, I’ll do it. I like to think of this as fortitude and steadfastness, but the reality can be something else. Often I find myself questioning why I can’t let go of the trivial things, especially when my exhaustion levels are at an all-time high (which happens to be most of the time lately).
I don’t think I’m alone, though. We applaud people who “do it all,” especially women. We’re now encouraged to have fulfilling careers and a rich family life. And this is a good thing. No one should have to choose one or the other. For that matter, none of us should be forced to give up anything that provides satisfaction or contributes to our quality of life. I believe striving for what we want and what we hope to achieve is the only way we can reach our goals and will leave us happier when we lay our heads on our pillow at night.
The problem is around the time I actually go to bed. When I am pushing too hard, it’s not just confined to late at night. I look at the clock, and I know that the time I have between that moment and when I have to get up again is just not enough. Sometimes I can feel that I am wearing myself too thin with all of my commitments and the things I do. The same thing happens at work: The hours slip by, and I know that the pile of work on my desk will not get done, and I’ll just be adding more to it the next day. There are too many friends to see on the weekends and at night, too many errands to run. There is just simply too much to do.
My colleagues are experiencing the exact same problems: high stress, crushing workloads, demanding lives, and lack of sleep. However, when the candle has been burnt at both ends down to a puddle of wax, they recognize it and stop. I just can’t seem to identify when to say “when.”