When I was a sophomore, a teacher once asked my English class to write a short paragraph on what word in the dictionary we though to be superior to all others, the word that had the most meaning to us.

 

Some of my fellow students had unique and witty answers. When I think back to that prompt, I honestly don’t remember what word I chose. I remember what word I wanted  to write, but didn’t, because I thought it would be too weird. But I do remember my teacher at the time reading what she had written. And, I couldn’t believe it, her favorite word in the dictionary was the same as mine! You know, the one I didn’t write about because I was too nervous. Do you have any idea what that word could be? It still holds true for me; I still consider it the best word in the dictionary.

Balance.

Yep. That’s my favorite word. Didn’t guess it? That’s alright. I’ll explain myself. I’ve made that word bold and italic so it’ll stand out to you; hopefully you’ll consider my verdict as to why I think this word is vital to life itself. Balance applies to everything in our lives. Really though, everything. Whether it be exercising, relationships, alone time, homework, time, and what-have-you. The list doesn’t end. Balance is applied on a large scale, primarily with time. We have to balance our time to accommodate each aspect of our lives. There is a time to do homework, to socialize, to have alone time, to have family time, to do extracurricular activities, to exercise, to eat healthy, and to simply take care of yourself. Some of these things overlap one another. For example, taking care of yourself is something you must do in the midst of doing other activities like interacting with people and going to school. In turn, balancing each aspect of our life is actually contributing to keeping us healthy and sane.  Allocating time for each facet of our lives is the healthiest thing we can do. It keeps us well rounded; when we focus too much of our time on one thing in our lives, we sacrifice our health. My mom always told me that too much of anything, good or bad, can become unhealthy. And this is so true. We sacrifice our health when become too focused on one thing. It is a responsibility we must have to say enough is enough and move onto something else. There is only so much you can do. If you did the best you can at whatever it was, then there is no need to stress about it afterwards. I am still learning this, actually.

I really did learn the art of balance well in high school when I was doing everything I could to present myself as a truly well rounded student so I could get into a good college. I joined clubs, I was in band, I played sports, I socialized with friends, I worked, I volunteered, and so much more. But all the while I needed to make sure I was allocating time for myself to relax and be alone, to have family time, and to make sure I was eating healthy and getting enough sleep. It’s easy to get off balance. Sometimes when school feels like it’s suffocating you and you’re trying to do the best you can, you sacrifice sleep and eating well. You neglect time with your friends. So it is important to re-balance yourself and make sure you make time for it all. Your sanity is a very important thing.

Being balanced also applies to smaller things in life. When it comes to friendships you need to balance time and effort with each person. When it comes to eating healthy, it is important to know that you don’t have to do it all the time. You can reward yourself sometimes. As for school, know when it becomes unhealthy to be staying up late and not getting the proper amount of sleep. Balance time with your significant other with time with your friends. Balance runs hand in hand with prioritizing. Each person’s priorities vary, which means you should know what is important to you and how you intend to balance each thing. For some people, a sport is more important than socializing. Or family time is more of a priority than homework. The important thing is finding out how to balance all of these things accordingly so each is satisfied. Make priorities and stick to them because that requires integrity and work ethic–two very important life values.

Something I have always struggled with balancing is that of my faith and school. After a long week of class and homework, I lack the energy to go anywhere on Sundays. But my relationship with God is important to me and a priority so I am working towards balancing my time so I can go to church. I also struggle with balancing social life, alone time, and family time. Sometimes if don’t allow myself to have alone time and I try to socialize too much, I immediately notice the ramifications on my mind and body. My energy depletes and I actually get sick sometimes if I am just going, going, going. I also sometimes put off family time to have more friend time–which also isn’t a good thing to do. Both are important.

When I finally decided that “balance” is the best word in the dictionary, I had a mini-epiphany. It just made sense. Everything we do in life requires balance. It keeps us on the right track. Life is full of many important assets, and each must be attended to accordingly keeping in mind what our specific priority list is in our heads. Make sure you know what is important to you, set goals, and stay healthy. That is the most important part: make sure to take care of yourself. Stay balanced.

Published by Amy Roach