It was the summer of 1998, and I was five years old. Many of my first memories started there. That summer’s heat was the kind that burns your skin, and the persistent sunlight was so bright from early in the morning to late at night, we could barely open our eyes. I learned the concept of “Balance” in one particular afternoon spent with my cousin in our courtyard surrounded by tall apartment buildings and a storage unit.
We originally planned to go swimming that afternoon, it sounded so perfect for cooling off the unbearable heat, but my mom was feeling sick. My cousin is three years older than me, and she had a bright idea to teach me how to ride a bike instead. We managed to take off my training wheels on my cute pink bike and pushed the bike to the top of the hill in the courtyard. Then, the brutal session began.
I hopped on the bike with my feet barely touching the ground. My cousin said, “I am going to push you off the hill, and you need to find your balance.” And I was completely fine with that simple direction at that age. I was not afraid of anything or questioned how I was going to accomplish that. I don’t remember how many times I fell and scraped my skin all over, but I found my balance after three hours of repeating the process over and over again. I was so thrilled when I could balance all the way down the hill, and it only took me five minutes to take off riding afterward. I had no complaint of the pain from the falls, nor I remember the recovering process. All I remember is being able to ride a bike brought me so much joy. Later that year, I became proficient in finding my balance. It took me less time to learn roller skating and ice skating. The key to my success was not being afraid of falling and not giving up finding the balance from all my mistakes.
I am sure you have heard people saying that you need to have a balanced diet; you need to balance your work time and family time. I truly believe that pursuing a more balanced life is the foundation of happiness and growth. But, how do we find the “right balance?” I believe that there is no right formula for all of us, but we all can find that balance by trial and error, just like how I learned to find the balance on my bike. To have the motivation and drive to reach for a more balanced life, we first need to realize a need to improve the way we live right now.
I was drinking heavily for a period of my life, and I felt like there was nothing wrong even when my doctor told me the amount I was drinking was very unhealthy. I was too distracted to see all the warning signs. I gained unwanted weight, I was not contacting my close friends and families, I felt empty when I was not drinking with my friends, and I was not learning anything. All of these signs crept on me, and I chose to ignore them until it was unbearable.
I have to be honest here. It is tough to realize and admit that we are not doing well and need to change. And changing takes so much effort and discipline. No one can change others. We can only influence each other. There are some tools and tips I would like to provide, and they might help you to see some things more clear that you chose to ignore. If you hear different people saying the same things to you, it is always worth reflecting on those things. If you find something that has been bothering you for a long time, it can be weight, bad habits, toxic mindsets, unhealthy relationships, dig a little deeper to find the cause behind it. If something changes dramatically, like your loved ones disappearing from your life, you keep making mistakes at work, getting bad grades, or being desperate financially, you are totally out of balance one way or another.
No one lives a perfect life, and we are all making mistakes constantly. Don’t be afraid of making those mistakes or dwell on those failures. Pick up your head and compile these mistakes. We all have different personalities and priorities. No one can tell you how to live your own life. But! Don’t ignore close friends and families’ honest advice that might sound harsh at times.
A more balanced life will bring you more joy and happiness, don’t settle for what you have right now. Continue to grow to be a better self by reflecting and making an effort. You can achieve anything. It all depends on how much you want it!