Stretching and Balance

I’ve set myself some big challenges this year. I’m pleased to say I’m making great progress. I am about to go on a cycling holiday in Mallorca and I feel ready to tackle the big hills. I have signed up for a triathlon in May and to help me great ready I am progressing through a 10-week training programme with the local tri club. It might seem that every thinking is going well, but that’s not quite the case. It feels at time like I might not have got the balance right.

I have been busy training for the cycling holiday and the triathlon. I have been busy at work as it is year end. I have been busy with scouts as I want to get my wood badge (that isn’t actually a badge) this year. This all means that other things have had to give.

There are some obvious conflicts: The triathlon swim sessions are on a Thursday night so I am missing out on #DDChat. The Thursday night twitter chats are a great way to connect with other dyslexics but for the 10 weeks of the training programme, I can’t take part in real time.

There are also more subtle constraints: I can’t spend as much time researching and drafting blog posts. I have a load of ideas in my journal but not the mental energy to turn them into posts.

Some challenges sit happily aside one another. Work is mentally taxing at the moment. My sporting activities can leave me feeling mentally drained (and yet buoyant at the same time). These two don’t conflict as I don’t need to be mentally focused to cycle and sore legs have minimal impact at work.

Time, however, is a different aspect. I’m spending no less time at work and a lot more time exercising. This means less time at home with the family.

I have not set any explicit family goals this year. That creates the risk that family time gets crowded out but the other goals. I have thought about setting goals for myself and my contribution to a happy family but I’ve never really come up with good ones.

I manage this time conflict by being intentional about how I spend my time. I am intentional about how I plan my goals. I plan my week with my journal and ensure I make time for the important things (sons first karate lesson). Where I am time poor I can look to quality over quantity. Hours sat together in front of the TV watching Netflix will playing on iPads is not really quality family time.

I also use my journal to consider beyond the current week. Balance does not need to be achieved every day, or even every week. I’ve got a family holiday coming up. This will help me redress the deficit of family time – so long as I maintain a focus on quality family time over just quantity.

I believe we each grow when stretched a little. Yet there is a fine line between eustress (comfortable and stretching) and distress. It’s also easy to neglect some aspects of your life when chasing after other goals. With a little planning, it is easy to approach this intentionally and look at achieving a suitable balance. I have probably not got this balance right but being aware of the tension makes it easier to tune into the impacts.

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