Wobble on (or the Myth of Work-Life Balance)

Photo sequence is author, Abbie Beacham, mid-wobble

It was a snowy day in Denver. I was sitting in my home office drinking a hot mug of coffee and watching the beautiful flakes float peacefully and gracefully down to the ground below y window. At last measure, we were at about 17 inches on the back patio. In the distance, I could hear someone scraping their car windshield. Where were they going to go? Work? Ha! I thought. Good luck with that.

I distinctly recall that I was grappling for a way to prepare a presentation on “Work/Life Balance.” I had received a request from a department at my work to come to a meeting and present for an allotted 15 minutes. I was to present on the topic and then, they would, in their words “go do it” — Work-Life Balance that is. Frankly, I thought that was hysterically funny. I should present it to the person scraping their windshield.

Then it hit me. What if Work-Life balance was a MYTH? Yep, a ruse, a set-up, a rigged game and a cruel joke – you can’t get it. How long have we been striving and seeking to arrive at that elusive destination of work-life balance? Right when we think we have it? Splat! Gone again.

The balance we seek comes in moments. Every balanced pose comes in moments. Balance is a dynamic equilibrium with constant shifts. Some are small shifts that are almost undetectable. Other shifts throw us to the ground. The shifting, however, never stops. Life is like standing on a wobble board. If you have ever been on a wobble board, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

The wobble board concept is covered in our very first session of Cultivating Personal Resilience. People in our groups immediately nod that they know what it means to get balanced on a board that is constantly shifting. It takes practice to notice and adapt. Over time we get good at it – shifting and adapting. Then, on those occasions when we are thrown off the balance completely, we know how to get right back on.

People in our groups have said “No work-life balance? It’s actually a wobble board? Wow! I feel so let off the hook! I don’t have to get to perfect!” Exactly. We don’t have to get to perfect. We just wobble on my friends. Wobble on.

[This post was originally published July 27, 2020]