Firstly, I don't see balance as at all the same thing as "having it all." Living with balance for some people - including myself - often means simplifying - having less, not more. The more you accumulate and add to your life, the harder it is to maintain balance - at least in my view.
Secondly, I admit that I don't have children (yet), and from what I've heard, life becomes infinitely more chaotic once that happens. However, I do have a busy full-time job, two online businesses (including 5 blogs), a new husband, and am in the process of buying a home, as well as fixing up my husband's home to sell. Life is a complete whirlwind!
I also freely admit that despite my best efforts, I don't always live a balanced life! However, seeking that is a value that guides me, and I am able to achieve it to some degree more often than not. So before you give up on balance altogether, consider these 3 points:
2. Balance for you might be different from balance for someone else. You may be a person who needs less on the social side, and requires more of a creative and spiritual outlet. But if you neglect something that you need - for example on the physical side (e.g. your health) - eventually you will pay for it. In Sheena's article, she mentions that she's exhausted and overdrawn through taking care of others instead of herself. While this is sometimes (often) necessary as a parent, you cannot go on like this indefinitely. Your body and mind WILL break down if you don't eventually rest. It's just the law of nature - and balance. Humans are not machines, and we're not meant to run like them. We need cycles of rest and rejuvenation along with our work and effort.
3. Balance doesn't mean "having it all," but it does mean having enough of what you need to live a happy and healthy life. You might not get to take a nap every day (or even once a month), or cut your toenails or get a haircut on schedule. You might not get to socialize with your friends as often as you might like. And you might not make as much money as you think you should. But if you neglect your job, you won't have it for long. If you neglect your family, your personal life will suffer. If you neglect your body, you will pay with your health. And if you ignore your spiritual side, over time, your life will become increasingly frustrating and unfulfilling.
True - you may never achieve perfect balance in your life, but I feel that seeking to maintain a reasonably healthy balance through the shifting sands of life is where the true reward is found.
So how do we find balance in our busy, busy, busy lives? Here are a few tips I have learned along the way for living a more balanced life - I hope you find them helpful:
You may not be able to pay attention to all these areas simultaneously (and you shouldn't; that would defeat the purpose), but give them each their due - and let the other stuff go.
2. Set your own priorities. Don't listen to those that try to make you feel bad for not prioritizing things that they feel are important. Your kid doesn't have to be on every team of every sport there is year-round. You don't have to buy all the latest clothes, or have the fancy new SUV that all the soccer moms are driving these days. Prioritize what is important for your own health, sanity, and happiness, and focus on those things.
3. Know thyself. The first two above are predicated on this one, so I probably should have listed it first, but oh well. Learning to know what is truly important to you in order to live a life that is happy and fulfilling is paramount to discovering what you need to achieve balance.
For example - I have chronic back problems, and I know how often I need to work out to stay relatively pain-free and functional. I also know what forms of exercise make my back feel better instead of worse. I know that I need to do yoga at least once a week in order to stay sane - and flexible and relaxed. I know that if I miss church for more than 2 weeks in a row, I start to feel lost and adrift spiritually. I know that if I go too long without talking to my girlfriends, I get stir-crazy and start unloading my problems onto random strangers. :-) Well, maybe not the last one, but you get my drift.
Knowing what you need is important to living a life of balance, no matter what that entails for you. (Part of that comes naturally with getting older I think, but self-examination is also important for living a life of purpose.)
And lastly, I will leave you with a great quote I heard in church this morning from Romans 14:17: "For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
There you have it - living a balanced life does not depend on what we have (eat or drink), but on HOW we live.
Live well, live happy, live with balance and joy!