Explore Life Coaching, Patti Phillips

Tipping the Scale Too Far

In our current society, there are a lot of people recognizing that they are living life out of balance. So much of their time is spent fulfilling obligations, meeting others’ expectations, and simply not spending any time on themselves. All they ever do is work. The dream for many is to tip the scales in exactly the opposite direction to have complete freedom with no demands, expectations or pressures.  Think of  the millions of people that buy lottery tickets.

I feel like I have recently been on the other side of the scale in which I have had lots of time available to just focus on my own needs and play. It is definitely one of those “the grass is always greener” scenarios. Because of a variety of life circumstances for me, no children, a very supportive partner, self-employment, no debt, I have no one and nothing placing any expectations on me. Whether I get up in the morning or not affects only me. Every decision I make is based on whether I “want to” and not whether “I have to”. Eating, brushing my teeth, writing a blog, editing a website, getting out of my pajamas, cleaning the house, going to yoga, walking the dog…these are all decisions. What if I didn’t do any of these things? Does it really matter in the big picture? Well, for me I can say that it matters and it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter in that the world continues for others as it normally would whether I do these things or not. It matters in that these seemingly obligatory tasks give me a sense of purpose and importance.

A balance between freedom and obligation is important. Play time and work time should not be seen as positive and negative opposites but rather as important elements that interact with each other to help us to really be fulfilled. We need play in order to discover and express our passions, to rejuvenate, to explore new ideas and activities, to feel in the moment, experience the natural high, and attain a sense of joy and aliveness. We also need work to provide us with structure, stability, a sense of purpose, a belief that we are needed, a feeling of competence, and a connectedness to the world around us.

I haven’t found the perfect balance for myself yet, but having been on the both sides of the scale, I think I have a better sense of what balance is for me. It is not 30-40 years of all work, obligation, and demands followed by 20-30 years of retirement with no sense of purpose. Each day I want to play and work, do some things I want to and some things I have to, contribute to others’ growth and my own personal growth, feel free and feel intimately connected to my environment.

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