Yesterday one of my dearest blogging friends Kate wrote a wonderful post entitled ‘Death to Thinspiration‘. Go on, head over to Kate’s website for a few minutes, I’ll wait.
You’re back. Wonderful.
Kate’s post got me thinking about a lot of things. I’m sure over the next week or so there will be more posts on here provoked by Kate’s beautiful honesty.
Today I want to talk about finding balance in a world obsessed with extremes.
Everyday we are bombarded with images and messages of the extremes ends of humanity.
Be skinny! Super skinny!
Fit your high school jeans!
Get big! Build muscle! Protein, protein, protein!
No carb! Paleo! Vegan! Raw! Gluten/soy/dairy free!
Sugar is evil!
No longer is it simply okay to just eat a well-balanced diet with a weekly treat. No, we must eat clean 24/7, cut out whole food groups, eschew macro-nutrients and eat diets that push out healthy foods because they don’t fit someone’s ideal criteria.
Even those who promote balance have developed it into an extreme form of living. You aren’t truly balanced unless you eat clean 100% of the time; drink only water, coconut water, or home-made kefir. You must make time for relaxing. You must eliminate all chemicals and toxins from your home. You must, you must, you must.
Sometimes these routines don’t seem all that balanced to me in the end.
I try to live a life of balance. But as Oscar Wilde said “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”
To which I say: everything in balance, including unbalance.
Most of the time I live a very healthy life. I don’t smoke. I exercise at least five time per week. I don’t eat meat. I rarely drink alcohol. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit. I take care of my mental health. I have close family and friends. I read and write and exercise my grey matter. I sleep at least six hours every night. I use mostly natural cleaners and cosmetic products when I can.
But, I’m far from perfect. Far from completely balanced. Sometimes I slack off on a healthy lifestyle:
I eat too much sugar (I like sugar, and sometimes sugar is my god);
I eat too much cheese some weeks (the cheesemonger at our Farmer’s Market drives down with local produce and I can’t always resist);
I love my Maybelline mascara (best brushes ever);
I over run and forget about cross-training and stretching;
I disinfect things with high-powered disinfectant because I harbour a deep-seated fear of food poisoning (with my track record this is understandable, believe me) and other germy things;
I watch too many re-runs of old cop shows and not enough news (for some reason I crave the 80s/90s when I write – no idea why),
And sometimes I can’t stop myself from comparing everything I do to someone else’s version of ‘ideal’.
But I can’t inflict another person’s version of balance on my own life. I am trying to find a balance that works for me. Balance Amy style. Some days this looks like healthy choices all day with a super workout, time for my journal, cleaning duties, and relaxation. Some days other priorities need to come in the way of a carefully constructed balance. I have family and friends who need me more than I need to hit my fifth workout for the week. I have university assignments that come in the way of accumulating my required hours of sleep. I can’t stomach another plate of broccoli and I just really, really want some cake and ice cream.
Balance is about finding the ratio that works for you. You are the only expert on what it takes to live your life. Not just survive from day to day, checking things off some arbitrary list, hitting goals important to someone else – but actually living your life.
Find the core things that matter to you the most. What elements of your life help you to feel the healthiest? Not by someone else’s scale, but by yours. Take balance and make it your own. A ship doesn’t sail on tracks over the ocean. There are peaks and troughs. Pitching and yawing. Centre yourself and ride out the highs and lows of life. A ship that tilts to one extreme or another will soon capsize. There’s a lesson in that.
Find your own balance. Find your centre.
Nourish your life your way.