I have previously referenced my dislike for the concept of “work life balance” and with that, my belief in life balance.
The endeavours this past weekend of a friend and her partner has taken me back to the topic of balance and left me pondering the individuality of the concept. That is, one person’s idea of balance is another’s nightmare.
Their endeavours also had me thinking about another friend and her Esoteric studies and how the two could not be anymore different.
But first the weekend just past.
Jayne and partner Adam, participated in the "3 Marathons in 3 Days" event held in and around Cairns in North Queensland, Australia.
And, being quite hilly, these were not simply 'routine' marathons.
Jayne reported on Friday (day one) a time of 6 hours and sore legs. And lots of hills.
They are both experienced endurance athletes having completed Marathons and 100 kilometre trail runs.
But this is an entirely different, and I would argue a harder event. There is no time to properly recover from the marathon effort of the previous day before finding yourself back on the starting line for the next 42.2 kilometres.
They love the challenge such an event offers. They thrive on the training and doing something together, having a joint goal and shared passion. They grow closer by the support and encouragement they provide each other in training and during the event.
But is such an extreme activity good for you, and is it just a little “un-balanced”?
My Esoteric friend would certainly argue that it is. Ms Esoteric would say that putting your body through such extreme stress is not an act of caring for and loving yourself. Further she may suggest the training time leading up to such an event is a distraction from what is truly important. I won’t go in to more detail about this except to acknowledge the authenticity and validity of her point of view.
Which lifestyle best represents balance?
Jayne is an experienced career professional, is successful in her chosen endeavour working in a high pressure technical environment engaging daily with people who both want and need her expertise. Hers is a work week of 50 hours or more. She holds an MBA too.
She is devoted to her extended family and spends much time helping and supporting her Mother and siblings.
That she chooses to also be an endurance athlete and to share this with her Partner is her definition of balance and it is also valid.
Is she healthy as a result of her athletic endeavours and associated lifestyle? No-one would look at her and describe her as unhealthy. They would see a fit strong mid 40’s healthy professional, engaged and interested in the world around her with diverse and varied interests.
The very opposite approach taken by Ms Esoteric is equally balanced.
She too is a successful and hardworking professional. She too is committed to a Partner and together they share and pursue an equal passion for their way of life including overseas travel to enhance their development and education.
She is also devoted to her Family and extended Family, daily.
She is fastidious about her way of life and is also in her mid 40’s. She has an equally fit, strong and healthy appearance and exercises daily by way of early morning walks. She too has a vast range of interests and is engaged in all around her.
While Jayne wakes at 4 am to go for a training run, Ms Esoteric wakes to participate in international meetings via Skype discussing the forum they are planning or the work the committee is doing for the overall student body.
Both are committed to and passionate about their chosen way of life and while they follow very different paths, I certainly could not argue there is anything about each that suggests a lack of Life Balance.
And, I am pleased to know and pleased to learn from each.