The Quest for Balance

Guest blogger Angie Mizzell shares her ongoing quest for balance.

My best friend once told me I have changed careers like I change Halloween costumes. Her assessment of my resume was funny, and true.

I have tried on a lot of professional hats since leaving my “big career” in the television newsroom seven years ago. I call it my “big career,” because there was a time I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I thought by this time in my life, I would be settled behind the anchor desk, living out my happily ever after.

But one day, my priorities began to shift. Work hadn’t changed. I had. I wanted more flexibility, more control of my schedule and more freedom to be creative. I had arrived at a crossroads.

During that time, I went to my primary care physician for a checkup and found myself talking to her about the stress I was under. She responded by giving me a glimpse into her own life. She said, “I have my career, and I have my family. I used to think I could have it all. And now, I realize I have to make choices.” Her statement can be interpreted a lot of ways, but I took it to mean that I need to determine my priorities. Sure, I was in a high pressure job, but I was expecting more from myself than what was actually being asked of me. There are only so many hours in a day, and we do what we can do. Some days are more productive than others. That’s life, and we are not machines.

I left my career in search of the proverbial state of balance. But I found something else.

Today, I’m a freelance writer and mom to two young boys, and on most days, I feel like a big mess. It’s not easy to write when my brain feels like a circus, or there’s an actual circus playing out in my living room. I don’t have much more balance in my life than when I started this journey, but I can tell you I’m a lot closer to fulfillment than I was back then.

The reason is simple. I love my work.

I’ve come to believe that balance is a state of mind, not a reflection of my to-do list. When we think of balance, we often think of a scale. But I see my life as a pendulum — almost always swinging and rarely at rest. I seek opportunities to be still (I take them when I can get them) and center myself. I consistently take an inventory of my life and what’s on my plate, and I reevaluate when necessary. I ask myself what “having it all” really means to me, and I work towards that ideal, while understanding I can only control so much. There’s a lot of trust involved.

What does work-life balance mean to you?

Angie Mizzell is a writer and columnist for Lowcountry Parent magazine. You can contact her by visiting her blog, “Stories of life, love and leaps of faith” at www.AngieMizzell.com.

When personal and professional parts of our lives are out of balance, stress can take hold. Join the Work-life Balance: Ways to restore harmony and reduce stress Empowerment Group at the C4W Mondays, September 6-27. This group is for women seeking to identify and target life stressors to restore balance and harmony in their lives. Strategies to enhance life-work balance will be explored during the four weeks. Facilitated by Leize Gaillard, LPC-I, NCC.

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