I just spent a week chaperoning my oldest son’s 6th grade class camping trip. It was an amazing experience to be out in nature with forty 6th grade students (along with a dozen parent chaperones!) and enjoy playing, learning and bonding. It was also a great opportunity for me to learn an important life lesson…balance.
As I was anticipating the upcoming trip, I was feeling a bit nervous about being away from my routine for several days. How would things at home be handled? How would work survive? How would I feel not being able to do all of my regularly-scheduled activities?
I did my best to lean into the situation and really enjoy the moments and not worry about all those lingering questions in the back of my mind.
When we got to camp, I quickly felt at ease surrounded by the natural beauty of our surroundings. Monterrey Pines filled the grounds, deer wandered freely and you could hear the waves of the ocean crashing on the shore. Kids were laughing and smiling, interacting in ways that I don’t normally get to witness. The naturalists on-site were excellent teachers and exposed all of us to great lessons about falcons and marine life and how to throw a Tomahawk.
And yet, I STILL had real life to think about. How did I deal with this? I took breaks! I was fortunate that there were times allowed for short breaks so I could check in with life back home, do some work and feel assured that all was OK.
The biggest lesson I learned from this week however is that BALANCE IS KEY. Of course, I knew this already, but LIVING IT is a different story. While I was away, my primary focus was being a chaperone and enjoying time with my son (which I am so grateful for!). My work had to take a backseat temporarily. The lesson…it was all OK!!! Work survived, I had a great time with my son, and I came home feeling refreshed and ready to tackle all the things I have on my plate (well—after a solid night’s sleep in my own bed!).
Sometimes family life will take priority and the other things will come up in second or third place. Including your work and your fitness! Sometimes work takes the lead and your family life might be temporarily put on hold. Sometimes your health and wellness might be your primary focus. You get the point. What I realized most though is that it all levels out. There is an ebb and flow to life. You can’t do everything 100% all of the time…that is an unrealistic expectation. And when you spend time focusing on one thing that needs your attention in the moment, it’s most likely the thing you should be focused on!
It’s not always easy or natural to live a balanced life, but it is important and it is reality! It’s important to enjoy the moments, decide where your priorities should be in any particular moment and lean into the balance. I am forever grateful that my son let me accompany him on his trip this week because I know I will never forget it! And I know that when he is an adult and off on his own I will be extra thankful that I prioritized this time instead of worrying about what I should be doing on my regular schedule.