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Chaos over balance?

Should we stop seeking balance in our lives? This weird thought occurred to me as I came to the realization that part of what has made my life so beautiful is the chaos, not necessarily the calm or tranquility. Maybe what we need to do is embrace our moments of chaos. When I think of some of the most rewarding times in my life, they have been times when balance was lacking. Let’s think…

  • Joining Teach For America. This was a time in which any form of certainty about my future was totally obliterated as I was about to take on the past two years without knowing a thing about teaching. I placed great confidence in those who would train me and I believed that, “If others can do it, I can too.” It turns out that I was right. 
  • Senior week in college. Although perhaps a more frivolous time in my life, there was NOTHING balanced about this blissful week spent in community with some of the friends I grew to love over my four years of college. 
  • Choosing to teach a third year after “graduating” TFA. This decision means that balance, specifically work-life balance, will not be a thing in my life in the near future. But guess what, that makes me happy. I know that I am going to be continually challenged to do the good, tough work that matters to me. What could be better than that?
  • Studying abroad in Chile. Everything from the controlled chaos of the micro buses mysteriously avoiding collisions at every corner, to the strange gatherings with nationally renowned poets in the house of Pablo Neruda; this was an amazing time of growth. Would I have grown so much there if I had sought balance over chaos and adventure? Not likely. I did go through some extreme challenges there, but would I erase those more painful memories in favor of more calm, quiet, and collected ones? Nope. 
  • Moving to Chicago to pursue urban education. This has been the most rough and painful endeavor…. ever. I will not understate the amount of anxiety and frustration experienced here in the last two years. However, I will say that it has been amazing. It has been an extreme blessing being let into my children’s lives, experiencing their pain, and feeling the joy of their achievements. 

Maybe someday I’ll be at a point in my life where I value balance and stability, but right now I am thriving off of the endless challenges of mid-twenties life; namely my job, finding my place in the city, and running as far and as fast as I can. Perhaps for me, balance doesn’t equate with calm and stable. Perhaps my place of equilibrium requires a bit of chaos. I want to move forward recognizing the value of the pain and frustration along with that of the joy and excitement, and embrace all of it. 

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