One of the questions that some readers might have is why I gave the blog the name “Reaching Our Balance?” Well, the truth is I tried a different domain name first, “Finding the Balance” but it was already taken. So after a couple of iterations with the idea of creating, attaining, or whatever word you want to you use I decided on “Reaching Our Balance.” For me, I think balance is what I am seeking. To paraphrase the great sensei Mr. Miyagi, “balance is not just for karate, balance for whole life. Whole life have balance.”
Balance has always been an elusive concept for me. I remember in graduate school, as I was talking with my adviser about the grandiose plans for my career, she asked me “when was it going to be enough?” The truth is I don’t know when it will be enough. But I do know that as I get older what I define as “enough” in my life has evolved. For a time, I was driven by my career aspirations of being a well-respected and widely known scholar. Now I have a simpler proposition of reveling in the job I have, a family, a home, and traveling. I mean I have to have a little perspective. I have done a lot in the short career I have so far. I have a job I love, colleagues who are supportive, friends in my discipline, and I do think I carry a modicum of respect amongst my peers. But I still find myself comparing myself to others and wishing I had written this or I was at that place or I had done that or why don’t I get to do that. Blah, blah, blah, blah! And I still have a deep-seated desire to be that well-respected and widely known scholar, but it doesn’t drive me as much anymore, which scares me to some degree because I have been on that path for so long, but I don’t think it is the best path to make me happy anymore. Thus, I struggle with balancing that desire with simply being the best Jason that I can be.
Finding what that balance is translates into my financial life because having all of this debt doesn’t give me the kind of balance and peace that I seek. It is like a millstone around my neck and I want that debt gone, like tomorrow. At the same time, I want to be able to live my life, travel, have a family, invest, save, etc. I want my proverbial cake and to eat it too. But I can’t have both, at least not at the levels I want. So I struggle with wanting to be able to do things, but having debt hanging over life. I struggle with pushing myself even harder in my career to just slowing down a bit and reveling in the moment, what I have accomplished, and what I can still accomplish. I know I am not alone in having these feelings. I talk with colleagues who have similar aspirations, suffer from similar financial feelings of dread, some worse off than I. So as I continue to write and hear from others I can learn how to reach my own point of balance, knowing it is always evolving, and maybe helping others find our balance as well.
What is your “balance” and how will you find it?