When I was a junior in college, I wrote about my experience studying abroad in exquisite detail (You can read the blog if you dare. It’s still out there in the interwebs … pages and pages of all of my ramblings about my life in Sevilla, Spain and traveling around Europe for 5 months 😆)
I titled the blog “Finding Balance” and I’ll quote myself from the first entry of that blog – January 13, 2013 – to share why:
“I named this blog Finding Balance because that’s really what my resolution is – to find more of a balance for myself between work and play, seriousness and lightheartedness, recognizing sadness and appreciating happiness, the line between determination and stress, doing what I love and doing what I have to do.”
I have to laugh because I remember setting out on my journey abroad thinking that I would come back having discovered what “balance” is and what it could mean in my life. It was a valiant effort, and I’m glad I’ve had the desire to explore balance for as long as I have.
But it’s taken me all that time traveling abroad, plus finishing school as a journalism and Spanish major, three years in advertising, three years at a health and wellness start-up media company, two years being my own boss as a full-time yoga teacher, trainer and coach, and the decision to yet again uproot and move around for 5 months (more on that in a minute), to actually see with more clarity that balance is not a place where we arrive. Balance is a verb. We are always in process. We are always moving towards and away from it.
In all my thousands of words written in that little college blog, I never found the words to articulate that.
I won’t pretend to be an expert in this “balance” stuff now. I’m still working towards finding my sense of steadfastness amidst the current – the ebb and flow – of life that I mentioned from my 20-year old perspective. The past decade has, however, equipped me with more tools to observe life’s ebbs and flows with more gratitude rather than force the current of life in a different direction.
After 7+ years in Chicago (and being a part of some of the most incredible communities, getting know the kindest individuals, and truly feeling more at home than I have ever felt) – something in my gut told me there was something to learn by letting the current carry me somewhere new.
My partner in all things adventure and now-husband Stephen and I packed our bags and set out to drive across the country and live in a few different places for most of the rest of this year.
Talk about a decision that my Type-A brain went a little haywire trying to comprehend. But it gave me butterflies to think about it being possible. And so, after writing down all the potential things that could go wrong (yes, that’s something I sometimes do 🤪) I realized that this precious life we live is worth experiencing fully, even with that list of hazards in the road.
So I stopped trying to force the current. I decided to let go and just say, “let’s give it a shot.”
We’re just barely embarking on this trek and already there is a lot to take in, and a lot to process. I’m sure I’ll share more soon. But so far, we’ve driven through seven states, seen otherworldly topography, and have gotten our first taste of what it means to live a little more simply. Suffice to say, I am into it.
And so, here we are: Finding Balance … Version 2.0. I’m taking my life lessons from the past decade into this new adventure sparked by curiosity and the question, “what if…?” and allowing myself the grace to not know what exactly is going to happen, how long we’re going to be gone, when we’re going to come back, and what exactly will we be doing while we’re there (wherever “there” is).
As my favorite Pixar movie Up reminds us, “adventure is out there” and we have set out to immerse ourselves in it fully. I’ll share what comes up for me along the way, and I hope it provides you a sense of grounding wherever you are – knowing that we’re all just figuring it out as we go.
And most of all, I hope this is a reminder that experiencing life fully isn’t ever about the physical places we go, it’s about the mindset we bring with us when we are there.
Oh, girl. Balance is a forever journey. I am loving coming along for the ride here — and sharing in many of your reflections.
Sending you lots of love, Jamie!