For boomers, this may be a common scenario.
You notice you're too busy; there's not enough time to do it all. You're running around all day and not getting as far as you want, going from task to task or place to place. There's too much on your plate, and you are overstuffed.
You may have said to yourself, "Even though I really want to, I'm too busy. I have no time to just sit down with a good book or get together with an old friend or take a class I'd like to. I'm just too busy for that."
You may think: "There's no way around it. With all my responsibilities, my day is really full and nonstop. I don't even have time to take a deep breath and relax."
But, is this the only choice — the only reality for you?
You might take a moment to notice your life is way out of balance when you are too busy, especially as you move into your mid-to-late 50s or 60s and older. You simply don't do "too busy" all that well. It taxes your brain, stresses your nerves and may drive you to drink or other bad habits.
When the body gets out of balance, an injury is more likely to occur, such as a pulled muscle or a fall that stops you in your tracks, so you can't keep moving as you would like, or your immune system breaks down and you get sick. Then, you then have no choice but to slow down. If you're lucky, it is a mild case with a quick recovery.
Unfortunately, if the build up of stress in the body over time occurs, it may bring forth a chronic, long-term, or even fatal illness.
When the mind becomes stressed from being overly busy, you may make mistakes, lose or forget things — more than what is expected from the normal aging process.
When the emotions become out of balance from overload, you may become depressed, angry, resentful, frustrated that life is just too hard. Why me?
So, how do you then become more balanced? For starters, you may want to examine your life and see it as a pie with three components, all fairly equal in size.
Work: If you are working at a full-time job, ask yourself if your work is satisfying or at least tolerable. As boomers, this is the time to develop a proper attitude around releasing the overriding importance of work. For most of us, we are moving toward, or are already in, a phase when we cut back from this part of our life that was once of prime importance. Eventually we "retire" from the work force. Are you preparing for this?
Play: Are you finding time to do what you love and to have fun? You might write a list of 10 things you really like to do (for some, generating these 10 items could be a real challenge). After you have your list, go back and mark which of these you have done in the last week, month or year. Note those you can do alone or together with someone else and which cost money or are free. You will then have a better understanding of how much "play time" you allow yourself.
Self-Development: Are you someone who neglects this third aspect of the balanced life? Ask yourself, do you fill up your schedule in order to avoid an inward focus? Do you take some time each day to sit quietly, to do some self-examination, to understand and appreciate just who you really are and how you might improve yourself by changing, even a little, those patterns of speech, thought or behavior that do not serve you?
Is your spiritual life important to you, and do you devote time to explore this aspect of who you are? Living a balanced life, with less "busy-ness," helps guarantee you preserve your good health and find more joy and ease in living, which, after all these many decades of driving and pushing hard, you do truly deserve.
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Angelena Craig of Newburyport is the director of The New Aging Movement and a professional-level yoga instructor. Visit her website at www.thenewagingmovement.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.