I must have a balance deficiency. Balance is not something I gave a lot of though before coming to college. I simply did what I did and did it with all that I had. I suppose I was one of those 'over-achievers' people talk about, but that's not quiet true. I was just an achiever. I never though: is this too much? am I stressed? do I have good self-esteem? I just didn't worry about it. Things always turned out and failure was sometimes inevitable but not stressed over.
Then some where between the end of my Junior year and Freshman year of college my life fell apart. I tend to blame it on the fact that I started working (outside of school). I would go to school, come home and eat, change, pack a lunch and head to work where I would stay until 11 PM, then come home and fall into bed. Thank God for study halls, they seriously saved my grades because, like the achiever I was, I was taking five Advance Placement classes (most people take two, tops). I cried all the time, alone of course. There was no sense in making a public fuss over something that was necessary. I had to go to school and I had to work so I could pay for college, there was nothing to fix so I shouldn't complain.
Unfortunately, this mood of despair lingered even into college when I wasn't working. I pushed/was pushed away from most of my friends and I didn't really bother to make new ones. I grew to detest school and I resented needing to work. I just wanted to go home. I had no close friends and I was separated from my family, whom I am fortunate enough to have very good relationships with. It was the first time I realized what it meant to be lonely. For an introverted girl who tends to do things on her own, that's saying something.
Balance. My husband, then boyfriend, was the one who put a name to my ailment. I don't think he was even talking about me at the time but he was adiment that everyone needed balance in their life. Balance between work and school, themselves and others, liberalism and conservativeness, everything. At first I though he was nuts. The world is black and white, pick your side and stay there. He insisted it was shades of gray.
I still believe it's black and white but I've learned that even black and white is complex. But that realization has opened up all sorts of things. It helped me realize that just because something is white (meaning respectable, honorable, expected, encouraged, etc.) doesn't mean you have to do everything that's white. I didn't have to be a perfect student, work a million hours a week and be 'successful' in this worlds terms. Yes, these things are all 'white' but that doesn't mean I have to do them all. I can pick.
So I picked homemaking. And funny enough, when I choose, really choose, not just wished, I found my balance. I wasn't running in a million directions any more, trying to please everyone. I had 'found' myself. Which is a phrase I used to hate, how can you find yourself? Does that mean you lost yourself. Well, yes. But I still suspect not everyone does and that most people only loose themselves because people tell them that they still haven't found themselves and they get confused. Read that twice.
But balance. It is a good lesson and a fragile one. It only takes one too many 'yeses' to the outside world for my balance to become unbalanced, for me to loose sight of what I want for my life and the life of my own family.