When I look back at my childhood, there are certain phrases I remember hearing over and over again. The one that rings most clearly in my mind is “everything in moderation”. I cannot tell you how many times I heard this! Every time I would ask for another serving of ice cream. Every time I wanted to watch just one more television program before bed. Every time I begged to stay longer at the park. “Everything in moderation, my dear” was the standard response. Humph! What’s one more little scoop, one more sitcom or 30 more measly minutes at the park?
Thankfully as an adult, I understand that the line needs to be drawn somewhere. There are only so many calories in a pound, so many hours to sleep, and so much free time in the day. In order to accomplish all the tasks at hand and to keep a healthy mind and body, we must find the right balance and keep “everything in moderation”. The problem here is, what is moderation? How much is moderation? The answer is: it varies from person to person. This means we must be mindful in the choices we make.
Finding and maintaining balance is an ongoing effort. Life is constantly changing. We have new jobs, new spouses, new houses, new debt, new friends, new stress and new health problems to balance. Figuring out what is a perfect balance is no simple task. Pay attention to how much time, money and energy you are expelling in each area. It may help to make a list of your top priorities. For example, mine are: 1) Family/Friends 2) Health & Fitness 3) Leisure Activities 4) Work and 5) Creative Outlet.
Once you have a clear idea of where your priorities lie, then you can look at your life and make an honest assessment of how well you balance those things. You may find that you do an excellent job and are totally at peace with yourself. Good for you! But if you feel exhausted or stretched too thin, chances are you are putting more effort in to one of your priorities that doesn’t need it, and not enough in one of the others. Balance. Moderation is key. If you can identify an area that is lacking your attention, make a shift and try to find the balance. And by balance I do not mean equal amounts, I mean the right proportion. Maybe you will only need to focus a small percentage of time and energy in one category and much more in another.
Just be honest with yourself and know that some days and weeks your balance will need to be adjusted. Listen to your body, to your mind and to the world around you. Take into consideration all you need and all you want. Somewhere in there is your balance – your moderation.
Not everything we learn as children is correct. In fact, much of it is not – but these words ring true: “Everything in moderation, my dear”.