What is Balance?
For my skimmers, here’s what you’ll find in this post: one look + one life lesson. This one’s on trying to figure out whatever the hell this “balance” thing is everyone talks about…
Tidal Cool Custom Dress, Gloria Wallet in Taupe from 88 Handbags, Amazfit Activity Tracker ($80), Pave Ball Drop Earrings (Similar from Rebecca Minkoff – $48), Aldo Shoes (Similar from Nine West – $50 ON SALE)
I have no idea, so if you’re coming here for an answer, in all fairness, I did ask you first (by the title).
Traditional definition of balance (à la Google) – an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.
(I know, there are times in life when we wish and hope and long for steadiness more than anything else, but you’re really just reaching for it out of comfort. What’s the first thing you do when you reach an instant of steadiness? You take the leap, you launch the next thing, you start the new business, you skip after the next brilliant idea. You Gems, are not a fan of staying in steadiness; you are not the steady kind of people.
So, in terms of fashion, balance refers to visual equilibrium. It’s sophisticated shoulders with a playful ponytail. I think this definition is more appropriate overall. It’s an illusion. What you see on the outside doesn’t equate to the mental, emotional, or physical weight on the inside, all you see is the external shell.
Most people are going for a “balancing the books” kind of balance – ewwwww because who likes accounting? You’re taking the overwhelming mess of your life and you’re trying to plug each and every thing into it’s own spot in the system crossing your fingers that your profit is more than your expenses at the end of the year.
This is where we get into trouble when we think about “achieving” balance. We expect it to be equal parts work, equal parts play. We expect hours of stress can be balanced with a proportional amount of yoga.
Or, you can balance like a ballerina on her toes. You can train hardcore, for 8+ hours a day, blistering your toes until they bleed. And then, you get on stage – for a far less amount of time than all the hours you clocked preparing – feel the rush of the performance, nail the arabesque, and forget how bad your feet hurt.
The first is balance as an equation, the second is balance as a flow.
Balance isn’t peaceful or calming or steady. I actually think it’s quite the opposite. It’s messy – like a negotiation with a 4 year old – it’s draining, insensible, and uncontrollable. You can place your time, effort, and energy where you choose, but there’s no official ROI equation to know if it’s going to pay off, to know if the “balance” you’re striving for will actually become achieved.
Balance was running around in NYC on this first day of New York Fashion Week, pulling this dress down that kept sliding up from my sweatiness in the heat and still getting awesome photos. It’s the years of hard work I’ve done to have the honor to attend New York Fashion Week each season. It’s walking more than 5 miles in heels and getting less than 5 hours of sleep each day (my Amazfit activity tracker confirms that’s not an exaggeration) during this one week out of the year so I can feel the rush of seeing next season’s trends walking down the runway. It’s exercising 5-6 days a week and eating ice cream almost every night. It’s feeling my way through the gut wrenching stress of financial instability, but knowing the differences I’m inspiring in the lives of the Gems I work with through my business are worth more than any amount of money and accepting that balance – whatever this thing is – takes patience sometimes (errr, almost every time).
It’s a ride. It’s movement. It’s flow. Balance is dynamic. Each day, each hour, each moment, your equilibrium changes based on your surroundings. It is not this static point or numeric that we’re forever trying to achieve by steadying two ends of a scale.
It’s becoming aware of both the energy you currently have and the energy you currently need, and calibrating your actions to your needs accordingly. And it’ll change tomorrow, maybe even later today or in 5 minutes. The “thing”, the action, the emotion you need is just momentarily frustrating. It’s figuring out what you need, perhaps doing the appropriate action.
Your intuition already has your life balanced for you.
It’s highs and lows that equilibrate over an entire lifetime.
It’s never being prepared or capable, but having the resilience to make it through (you always do).
One thing that I do know is, you can never get anywhere near the sensation of balance (if that is what you’re going for) when you don’t feel your way through what’s off setting you. Feel the rush of the highs and relish in the perseverance you’re building in the lows. For it’s only through actually going through the things that you can figure out just how much each of them weighs.
Most of all balance is what you make it. If it’s overwhelming to define what balance means to you, start by making a list of all the things balance is not. Your definition will start to reveal itself and once you find it, come back here and share it in the comments. <3
**This post may contain affiliate links and sponsored content because we all have to pay our bills and I’d rather keep creating awesome content for you than get a real job. All opinions are my own.**
Photos: Alexandra Barone