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Being honest, balance isn’t something I would say is natural to me. I don’t mean the physical act of balancing (I’m pretty good at that , but rather the skill of approaching life equitably and with harmony.

When I enjoy doing something, I want to do it all the time! I’ve never gone completely overboard but I know there is definitely a strong tendency within me, to be like this. In my twenties, when I used to go out to bars and clubs, I would smoke and drink, like there was no tomorrow. It was a lot of fun at times, but ultimately there is a tomorrow (until there’s not…if that makes sense! ;) ) and then there is an obvious cause and effect to that behaviour.

Not just in case you’re thinking, “oh gawd, Jen’s here to rain on my parade!” …I’m really not. That was great fun, if that’s what you want to do, and I strongly believe that if you are enjoying yourself and not hurting anyone, then all well and good. :) However, something I wanted to share is that I am finding I am enjoying “balance” these days. Maybe it’s getting older, as I never used to be a fan of balance! I am 34 this week, and I definitely enjoy different things these days than I would ten years ago, I think that’s often a natural thing in life. Neither is better or worst. We just change.

What got me thinking about this topic, was the recent posts by Karen at Dreamin’’ the Life. Karen has blown me away with her honesty and courage, in sharing that she is currently battling an addiction to alcohol. Someone commented on one of her posts, that we are all addicted to something. Whether its gossip, the internet, chocolate or alcohol. I think that’s true. If I’m really honest with myself, although I might not be facing the same challenges Karen is right now, I know I have that tendency within me, and I am not sure, that giving up certain things in my life, would be that easy.

So as I said, I have realized recently, there is a lot to be learnt from balance, specifically I am learning that self discipline can actually be very freeing. Letting yourself do, whatever you feel like, can feel good in the moment, but can quickly feel bad if done too often.

One of my favourite writers; David Turnbull recently write a post where he shared that he found it useful, when writing to:

“Stop when you don’t want to stop. Are you in a killer paragraph? Writing something that’s so amazing that you feel like you’re going to explode in a burst of ecstasy? Stop writing. What?! Stop writing. Why? Because you’re in a good zone, but that good feeling is fleeting unfortunately and it needs to preserved.”

I think there is so much wisdom in what David says here, and it can be applied to any area of life. Continuing to do something fun, can be great, but there is something to be said for ‘preserving’ that feeling, and knowing when to stop.

Personally I have found that I get out of balance when I don’t listen to my feelings. Like a parent who sets healthy boundaries for their children, I have started to notice that when I do this for myself, and stop when I know to stop, or getting the things done first that I don’t want to do, there is a palpable sense of satisfaction. Another important thing to mention here is the importance of the ability to say “no”. As I shared in the post in the link, learning to say “no” has made a huge difference to my life, and the ability to balance what I want.

A further positive effect of being more balanced for me is that I notice I am starting to achieve more and I am clearer about what it is I want to achieve. I get inspired very easily, but left unchecked I can have lots of inspiration and not much follow through. I am realising the value of persistence and consistency.

I don’t want to take all the fun out of life and of course, at times good old fashioned spontaneity and throwing caution to the wind, can be the best thing to do. However at other times, delaying gratification and learning self discipline, can add another layer to life and our enjoyment of it.

We are all different. Your journey with balance may be very different to mine. I’d love to hear about yours.

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