BettyThe key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it. ~Unknown

When I was a child, I had an amazing sense of physical balance. One of my favorite activities was to climb onto the railing at one end of our long front porch, gain my balance, walk to the opening in the rail, leap the opening, and then continue walking the railing to the end of the porch, where I jumped to the ground. Now, I live with a condition that impedes my ability to maintain my physical balance. This condition isn’t life threatening, nor is it likely to have a great impact on the quality of my life. Yet, it annoys me that my gait is so awkward it causes my neighbors wonder if I’m spending too much time with Jim Beam.

Recently, as I was pondering balance, I had a blinding flash of the obvious in which I realized that life is all about balance. In order to feel calm, clear-headed, motivated and joyful about life one must balance the emotional and spiritual aspects of life, as well as the physical ones. Not knowing what one wants from life and trying to do everything and be all things to all people is a recipe for disaster.

I’ve discovered that I’m much happier when I balance work and play. Hence, I’m regaining balance in my life by determining what’s important to me, setting boundaries and balancing priorities. Lessons I learning along the way include:

Expect the unexpected. If you accept that anything can happen at any time, you are less likely to be thrown off stride when the unexpected happens. There will be times when achieving balance will be temporarily impossible – i.e. crisis situations that truly require your immediate, undivided attention and an exceptional amount of your time and resources. When these occur, do whatever it takes to deal with them and as soon as feasible, take time to refresh, rejuvenate and rebalance yourself.

Make a plan, but keep things in perspective. You can’t anticipate and plan for everything in life. However, you can decide how, where and when to concentrate your energies. Begin each day with the intention of making the most of it. If plans go astray , as they often do, the willingness and ability to put things in perspective is part of living a well-balanced life. Once you’ve done everything within your control to regain balance, relax and let your life unfold. Be prepared for the future, but don’t worry about it.

Nurture yourself before you attempt to nurture others. Set aside some ‘me’ time each day and dedicate it to activities that you enjoy. Take care of you physical needs by eating well and getting some exercise. Take care of you emotional and spiritual needs by making time to unwind after hectic day. Use this time to listen to music (or make music) read, meditate, take a nice hot bath or do whatever else you find relaxing.

Balance priorities. Don’t rush through pleasant experiences or occasional extravagances out of a sense of guilt. Relax and savor them. Learn to balance a healthy respect for the needs of tomorrow with the enjoyment of today. Avoid becoming overwhelmed by trying to juggle too many things at once.

Commit to being fully aware and involved in the current moment. Make a commitment living in the present without regrets.  Each moment in life only occurs once, if you aren’t fully present in it, you’ve missed it forever.

If you practice not letting things get to you, you will not only live a well balanced and less stressful life, you will have fun while doing so.

Next to love, balance is the most important thing there is. ~John Wooden

Betty Freeman Haines, an author and award winning columnist, lives in Mesquite, NV. Her books/e-books, Reluctant Hero and Grieving Sucks or Does It, can be ordered from