We can all agree that 2020 was a year of uncertainty, fear, stress, anxiety, frustration, sickness, loss, grief, discouragement, being overwhelmed, delayed dreams, isolation from family and friends… to name a few. Much of the time we might have felt as though we were moving through life as if we had no choices, no control, no purpose or freedom to pursue our highest values and priorities.
As I write this on New Year’s Eve 2020, I couldn’t help but look back and reflect, truly…
“Hindsight is 2020!”
This expression means: It's easier to analyze and evaluate situations when we're looking back on them in the past, than when we're in the present moment. The word hindsight refers to looking back or reflecting on things in the past, and 20/20 refers to perfect vision.
So, when you put those together, "Hindsight is 20/20" means that you can easily tell what you should have done in the past, but it's harder to decide what to do in the future. So typically, when a New Year arrives, we make a “resolution…” a firm decision to do or not to do something, usually relating to doing it differently or better. For all its excitement, though, a new year can still be unsettling. None of us knows the future or what storms it may hold.
That’s where finding “balance” plays a key role. Living a balanced life… has a nice sound to it, doesn’t it? A meaningful life is one that is in balance, one in which adequate time is given to the activities that express your values and priorities.
Balance obviously means something different to everyone, yet most of us are seeking it in some way or another, especially coming off a year like 2020. As someone who tries to take on more than I should, physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and then adding a new puppy into the mix… I know what it’s like to juggle many responsibilities. Though balance is something I strive for in my life, it can be hard to find when I’m trying and taking on too much.
Let’s be honest, there’s been much more negativity and complaints this past year then there has been positivity and gratitude.
Beware of warning signs that your life may have become off-center and take action today to bring a greater sense of balance to all the areas of your life.
There are two main actions that lead to a balanced lifestyle. The first is to understand and respect each of the important areas of your life. The second consists of changing your perspective in the areas in which you are stuck.
I want to talk “perspective” for a moment. My mom turned 96 in November, born in 1924. My father-in-law will turn 95 this January. Both are still very much alive and well, independent and self-sufficient. My father-in-law still drives; my mom gave it up a year ago when she quit volunteering at the hospital on Friday’s. Yes, we are very fortunate to still have them with us.
They are both a “life course” on perspective. Both have seen and lived through some of the worst outbreaks in U.S. History; smallpox, yellow fever, scarlet fever, polio, H1N1 flu, H2N2 flu, tuberculosis, typhoid, as well as several epidemics including pandemics caused by an infectious disease. Not to mention my father-in-law was a “gunners-mate” in World War II and both lived during one of the worst depressions in our history. It’s interesting to hear how different their perspective is on our modern-day pressures, especially this past year of 2020. They have and can see the “silver lining…” that good can come from bad; problems can give rise to opportunities instead of setting you back and causing stress and worry. We’re given a new day every day… and they’re grateful to see each new day.
John Adams said, “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.”
“To hell with circumstances, I create opportunities.” Bruce Lee
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” — Winston Churchill
So, here’s the thing, there may have been a lot of bad things about 2020… each of us has to evaluate that in terms of our own life circumstances. And there has been plenty of things we have had no control or choice over. However, we have control and choice over how we VIEW these circumstances. Remember, life is reflecting what you think about.
- Turn the statistics around;
- Remind yourself of what is going well;
- See every situation as a learning opportunity;
- Keep calm;
- Think rationally;
- Focus on the bigger picture and your longer term goals.
My New Year resolution comes from my mom and father-in-law: to find balance with perspective, see the good in all opportunities, and be grateful. Another one comes from a writer, Tony Fahkry:
“Despite everything, this year taught us that the power of letting go lies in our ability to surrender that which we have little control of, anyway.”
Here’s something I keep on my refrigerator and do every morning:
- Take 5 deep breaths
- Smile for no reason
- Forgive yourself for yesterday’s mistakes
- Name something you’re grateful for
- Name something you’re looking forward to for the day
Some Questions for Lifestyle Balance:
- Am I living a balanced life?
- Are my true values and priorities reflected here?
- If I had one month left to live, is this the way I would be spending my time?
- Am I involved in too many activities? Is there too much on my plate?
- How much of my time is spent caring for others? For myself?
- Are there areas of my life that need more of my attention?
- Is there a dream or desire that keeps getting put off that I’d like to focus on?
- What area(s) needs more attention? Where is less attention needed?
- What changes do I want to make? What can I do to round out my life?