“Spring into balance” is an initiative guided by the friends at Good Not Perfect, Simplify, Live, Love, and some other guests who will be making thoughtful contributions over the upcoming weeks. This 10 week initiative is aimed at simplifying, finding time for yourself, and being happier. You can read about the 10 week project here and here.
Here is Mary’s response to the first week’s journal assignment.
Journal Entry: Highs/Lows of last week. What areas of life are in balance, and where do you feel out of balance?
As the exercise instructed, I took a meditational approach to looking back over the last week to evaluate the good, the bad, and the ugly. I made my list. And as it turns out, the ugly column dominated last week, as I underwent a fairly major dental procedure on Monday. It was, quite literally, ugly. I looked like I was squirreling away a golf ball in my left cheek. And when the swelling subsided, I was left with a greenish bruise. I’ll spare you the photos.
But being laid up for three days holding an ice pack to my face definitely had its advantages – much needed rest and checking a lot of things off my to-do list, for starters. But it wasn’t a typical week, so I’m expecting the list to change substantially as I add to it this week. Here’s my list from last week:
1. Bowling date with with Lady #1: Friday night my work treated us to an evening of bowling with our families. I considered just going by myself, but I’m glad a coworker talked me into bringing my little lady. She LOVED it, ate three plates of nachos, and learned bowling basics in “those silly shoes.” And it provided us some alone time outside of our usual routine. All around perfect night.
2. Museum date with Lady #2: While Lady #1 was off with Daddy at her Saturday ski lesson, I had a chance for some alone time with my other little gal. It was snowing and freezing outside, so we headed to our usual indoor retreat – the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. (If you’re ever in town, I highly recommend it!) I let her be the guide, so we saw all of her favorites – the bears, elk and bison – before heading to the kids’ Discovery Zone. During the morning, we ate a snack near some huge windows overlooking the City Park:
The two dates were, by far, the highlight of my week. Getting to see each girl’s personality evolve is something I hope I never forget or take for granted.
3. Cleaning up the to-do list: You know the feeling – when you have something sitting on your to-do list for so long that you’re tired of looking at it. And there’s nothing better than replacing that feeling with the freeing thrill of getting to check that box. That was definitely one benefit of the dental surgery – I got a ton of little, nagging tasks accomplished!
I initially thought the lows of my week would include times I felt bad about a decision or yelled at the kids (and there’s a little bit of that in every week, too), but I was actually far more disappointed by the things I didn’t do than the things I did.
1. No exercise: This was, unfortunately, planned and expected due to the dental work. But it still threw me off my routine. I usually head to the gym on two weekdays and then exercise outdoors on the weekend, and without this I had weird aches in my legs and back. Can’t wait to (slowly) get back to normal.
2. No journal reading: This is a component of my work that I neglect all too often – catching up on the medical literature. There’s not much more to be said other than – I need to and intend to chip away at this pile until it’s gone.
On a more normal week, I would also expect my lows would also include things like:
- Not enough “me” time.
- Rushed meals or poor meal planning.
- An expanding (instead of shrinking) to-do list.
Even making this list has me feeling a little more in control. It reminds me of one of Atul Gawande‘s main principles – “count something” – with the recognition that you pay attention to what you measure. Just writing these things down has brought my values into my consciousness.
What highs and lows made your list?
Mary is a regular guest contributor to Good Not Perfect. Mary grew up in Kansas City – raised by two science lovers – and met Laura and Emily during her stint as a Hoosier in college. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two daughters and works as a physician in internal medicine. She aspires to be one of those women still running 10Ks in their 70s, and her bucket list includes visiting all 59 U.S. National Parks.