Well folks, the last day of our 2014 blog project has arrived. An entire year of challenges. An entire year of blogging.
It is 5:30 in the morning, the house is quiet and I am attempting to put my thoughts into words and somehow wrap this year up in a meaningful way.
I decided it would be neat to read my very first post and to see how my perspective of Deconstruct The Yuck has evolved. In my inaugural post, I wrote about the ensuing year as a blank canvas. I imagined my canvas as “long, white and untouched, laying on the surface of the residential streets, turning and twisting as it leads the way out of suburbia, into the city, and then from there who knows?” I explained, “on this first day of the New Year it is empty, but on the last day of 2014 it will be filled with pictures, words, experiences.”
Over the course of this year, I have held on to this mental image of my ‘canvas roadway’ of sorts, and I have found comfort in placing various mental images of events, memories, people, key words and teachable moments onto the canvas, continually adding to the collection. I imagine myself with a large glue stick, pasting on each significant piece as I go. Through this year of challenging and writing, my canvas roadway has indeed reached far out of the city limits, taking me to past, present and future places.
So, what has this blog project really been all about? Well, to review, the core purpose was to engage in “challenges that will hopefully reconnect us with our own authentic life.” For me, my authentic life essentially consists of some type of internal balance. As cliche as it sounds, the balance between all aspects of my life (family, friends, work, physical health, personal interests, personal passions, goals, travel, exploration, parenting…) is key to my own authentic happiness. And, to find such balance, I necessarily have to not only accept, but honour, my own authentic way of being in the world. This includes the stuff I like about myself and the stuff I’m not so keen on…
In 365 days, I would love to be able to say that I have achieved this goal of my balanced, authentic life. But, that my friends, would be disingenuous. Heck, over the holidays I have somehow managed to become inordinately caught up in the pressures of the season yet again!
I think I will end this post with a little story: So a while back, I was at a professional education 3 day conference. On the third day, as a conclusion, each of the participants was asked to present on one key concept learned. But, the trick was to present the concept within the context of a metaphor. I remember that one of the other participants (a father of 4) presented on the concept of balance and his metaphor has stayed with me since (I wish I could say that the metaphor is mine, but alas I cannot). He said that, for him Balance is an exit off of the highway. He makes a concerted effort to drive in the direction of Balance, has all intentions to arrive at destination Balance, but somehow he consistently just misses the exit. He describes having to turn his car around and go back and forth, back and forth, just barely missing the exit each time.
Ironically, this year of challenges has in some ways created states of great ‘un-balance.’ Who really plans to rid themselves of sugar every day, or to engage in physical activity/do an act for the environment/ orchestrate an act of kindness every single day? These challenges of ours are not balanced or sustainable, nor were they meant to be. They were intended to force Meagan and I to fully experience each challenge so that we could reflect on them in a meaningful way and incorporate the important learnings from each into our lives. Immersing myself into each challenge (and the unbalance it brings!) has somehow helped me to hone in on the key pieces for my own balanced life.
I think the most paramount learning I took from this year is the concept Less is More. I have a sneaky suspicion that Less is More is a key landmark on my trek to Balance…
Surely, I haven’t taken the exit to Balance just yet, but I do hold hope that one day I will get there – if even for a brief stay. Perhaps I will even be lucky enough to visit there regularly throughout my life?
Finally, I would like to say a great, big THANK YOU to all of our readers out there. Thank you for taking interest in our project. Thank you for supporting us in our journey. Maybe one day I’ll meet up with some of you out there in Balance.