If you are reading this you probably know my name is Oyindamola.You have also probably read a lot of my random musings on my Instagram page. After such a long time procrastinating (recovering procrastinator here) I have finally decided to go a step further by collecting all those random musings in a blog. And so here goes my 1st blog post. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and also a shout out to all those people who encouraged me to give it a try- Thank you!!
So back to Balance – what comes to mind when you hear the word? Cartwheels, yoga poses( downward dog anyone ) work/ life, mindfulness,crystal etc .It is such a ‘new age’ word isn’t it? Reminds you of chai lattes,quinoa,kale chips and all the ‘yuppie’ stuff that millennials just seem to love.By the way I recently found out that I am a millennial even though I feel too old to be classed as one,being able to vividly remember using cassettes,walkmans and all that. How can I be a millennial?? But let’s not digress, that’s a topic for another day . The most appropriate contextual meaning of the word ‘Balance’ that I was able to find is ‘ a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions’. This balance is what I have pondering on for a while now. This is the balance we are all seeking as we go about this thing called life. The different elements that make up who we are ,what we do and how we do them ; and how we are all just striving to have them all lined up in the correct proportions. It all comes down to proportionality doesn’t it . I know how much I agonise about how I am damaging my children when I give them their iPads so I can catch a break and just simply catch up on my reading.They are quiet they are not asking me questions and most importantly they are not bickering! Or when I take them to McDonald’s cos I just can’t be bothered to make lunch or dinner( I did that yesterday). On the face value those are things that could count against me on the scale as being a ‘bad mother’.
If I am honest I KNOW those things are short cuts and should definitely not be on ‘default’ parenting settings. However, this is where proportionality comes into play. McDonald’s is a treat for my children and prior to yesterday they probably have had McDonalds only twice this year. They are also not allowed iPads during the school week and for just 2 hours over the weekend. Now this is not to pat myself on the back as ‘parent of the year’(cos let’s just keep my other shortcuts away for now) it’s just to illustrate why balance is such an essential grace that we need to extend to ourselves and others.
The ‘others’ point is one that I would like to dwell on a bit.It’s quite easy to extend the grace of balance to ourselves but very hard sometimes to extend it to others. How many times have you automatically judged someone else with a spot on assessment of what you can currently see? I know I have! While in McDonalds I have seen a bigger person and thought ‘should you really be in here’ ?? I have seen a mum give a toddler sweets and cringed! I have watched a colleague add 8 satchets of sugar to their tea or coffee & stood there shaking my head in horror. Now all those examples are things that should rightfully elicit some sort of concern. But in following the correct proportionality,how often are these incidents occurring for me to make rash judgements on that person by just what I am seeing in front of me right now? The balance we are all seeking for means that sometimes the pendulum swings to the extreme. One day you are going hard in the gym,the other day you are slouching in your pyjamas watching Netflix all day. The pendulum should rightly be swung in the ‘good’ extremes most of the time to have a healthy,fulfilled and productive life. But to have joy, it sometimes goes the other way. You can’t operate optimally at ALL times even computers have to go into rest and sleep mode sometimes.
This is why I am not the greatest fan of the ‘All or nothing’ approach to most things in life.Yes, sometimes you have to give it your ALL in certain areas to gain tangible results. But it is simply not sustainable to keep that pace up for ALL THINGS at ALL TIMES. I believe firmly that a person can have it all but not all at the same time. One thing has to give and balance is a grace that you can give yourself and like I said earlier also others. You can’t expect your staff member who just had a baby to be at the same optimal best as when they were a graduate trainee. Your child who is studying hard for A levels might not have the tidiest bedroom( I said tidiest not tidy). Your spouse who is going through a very tough time at work might not be the most attentive during this time. That lady who looks a bit disheveled at the school gate might have had a very rough night.
One of my favourite gospel stories is the story of the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned and how Jesus dealt with the situation. Jesus’s question of ‘ He is who without sin cast the first stone’ is one that we would do well to ask ourselves from time to time. In my advocacy for balance, I am asking us to strike a balance in extending & demanding accountability with empathy, discipline with love,encouragement without condescension. It is very tricky but one that we are all capable of if we only we can give it some thought. Try to give the benefit of the doubt, extend a deeper thought to the ‘why’ rather than the ‘what’ . Balance the doubt with faith.Now I am just going overboard with the cliche’s, don’t mind me but I guess you get my drift.
I know it is human nature to make snap judgements. That’s how we have evolved as a specie. However the proportion of what a person does regularly makes up the sum total of who they are. Unfortunately except you are privy to a person up close and personal it is nearly impossible to make an informed judgement call on the face value of what you are seeing right now. So pause,remember the grace of balance you extend yourself when you are about to write off that person as ‘lazy’ or ‘fat’ or ‘stupid’ and all the the other snap judgement calls we make every day.
Thank you so much for reading and hope you come back to read more of my random ramblings.
Lots of love Oyindamola
Photo credit – Pinterest