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What I’m learning about balance, living a simpler life, and growth – Part 1

I originally wrote this as a guest writer on a site called waaaaaay back in 2014. The original article is no longer available online, however, it’s one that I’ve wanted to revisit, update and publish on my site for a long time.

Based on a lot of the conversations I’ve had recently, it was time to return to this article, update it and share what I’ve learned since it was originally published. As I was editing and updating it kinda grew, so I split it up into two parts.

I Love a Good Thought-Provoking Quote

Years ago, and I mean years ago, I came across a quote on Pinterest that I kept going back to read. It was one of those quotes that make you stop and think about how it could apply to your own life.

what I'm learning about balance, living a simpler life, and growth

The quote comes from Kelly Exeter and she called it, “A Manifesto For a Simple Life”.

“Eat less, move more.
Buy less, make more.
Stress less, laugh more.
Feel blessed, love more.
Find a quiet place each day and breathe.”

I still love this quote. It’s simple, easy to remember, and delivers a poignant message. It speaks to me more today here in 2023 than it did when I first read it almost 10 years ago

Balance and a Simple Life: An Idealized Vision

The idea of a simple life makes me think of living in the country or a small town, doing a good day’s work, then sitting on the porch with friends and family with lemonade and a gentle breeze cooling us off. And don’t forget the dogs roaming around and hanging out with us. 

Yep, that’s what often comes to mind when I think about what a simple life looks like. And yes, it is more than a wee bit romanticized thanks to Pinterest and lots of reading of heavily edited books about what pioneer living was like when I was a kid.

I’ve learned that this version of balance and simple living is a myth.

I know that if I tried to live that idealized version of simple, I would get bored so quickly. One, I’m a terrible small-talk conversationalist. Second, sitting on the porch just chatting away, nope. At least pull a board game or put a knitting project into my hands!

Variety is the spice of life and is something I crave. Sometimes I need to dive deep into a project where I lose all sense of time. At others, I’m on tight deadlines to get things done, and then there are times I need quiet and rest.

Simple is great and needed.
However, there are times when being out of balance
is often the catalyst we need for growth.

I also used to think that a balanced life meant a simple life.

I don’t think that anymore. These days, a balanced life means an aligned life. And an aligned life is not always a simple one. 

What I know now is that we have to examine our calendars, goals, and activities regularly and make sure they are in alignment with our values and priorities. It’s so easy to get off track. 

We need to ask ourselves:

  • Am I so used to feeling off balance because I’m addicted to busyness and I can’t imagine how to make it different?
  • Or am I making the intentional decision to feel out of balance because I have a specific goal in mind and know that short-term struggle will bring long-term benefits?

It is easy to become addicted to being busy; it is an adrenaline rush. During a season of pursuing a big goal that knocks my regular routines and schedules out of whack, it’s hard to step back and transition back into a calmer state.

How often have you noticed your busyness and feeling out-of-balance become a normal way of living?

That’s how my anxiety felt. It was normal. I had gotten used to living with it and didn’t realize there was a different way to be. 

So, maybe it is time we change our idea of what a balanced or simple life is and ask ourselves what are we really looking for.

How do You Define Simple and Balanced Living?

Let’s define both words:  

  • Balance: mental and emotional steadiness, stability produced by an even distribution of weight on each side of the vertical axis, physical equilibrium (source)
  • Simple: free from guile or vanity, of humble origin or modest position (source)

We often long for simplicity and balance but think that it can’t apply to us, that it’s a pipedream. Or, we aren’t motivated enough to make changes and pursue a simpler way, a more balanced way of living and working. 

  • Have you ever stopped to consider what you think a balanced schedule or life should look like? 
  • Do you long for a simpler way of living and running your business?

Next week, we will take another look at this quote and talk about identifying what simple looks like for you. (Hint, it’s different for everyone, there’s no right answer)

In the meantime, over this next week and note what areas of your life and business where you say, “there’s got to be an easier way”, “I just need something simpler,” or, “I’m so busy I can’t think straight”. 

These may be areas where you need to identify what you mean by simpler and how you might find some balance to reduce some of the overwhelm and stress you are experiencing.

Where do you need to start?

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