How to Live a Balanced Life
I'll tell you right now, I'm no expert in life living. My lists of things-to-dos and should-dos and would-dos-if-I-had-time stretch beyond the average life span. I'm far from balanced. Luckily (and thankfully) I have people in my life who remind me of this fact on a regular basis and dispense their words of wisdom and guidance involving such matters. They're life balancers, and I'm happy to know them.
"Less Cyborg, More Human"
Last weekend, a group of us gathered, after a really fun-gross workout, to partake in delicious southern cooking brunch goodness at the local brunch goodness place, Burnside Biscuits (if you're in Astoria, Queens any time soon, you must check them out before they dissolve into another trendy restaurant like the ancestorial restaurants before them). I had heard about their infamous biscuits, and I had nibbled on the cold, hard remains of friends' leftovers, but I never had one all to myself. This was my chance! And I was terrified. I was once in the habit of eating biscuits and gravy at will (which was more often than I care to admit), and with my change in lifestyle, I presumed biscuits and I would never cross paths again. The gateway to the past was starring me in the face, and I was filled with dread.
The night before this chance encounter with my past self, I deviated from my strict meal prepping and meal eating habits and ate carbs after dinner (about 12 strawberries) and could not believe my lack of will power. I was on the fast train to a pizza and beer bender and donuts and cake for breakfast, I thought. I sat in regret for a good five minutes, staring at the half-eaten carton of berries.
Don't worry, both stories end well. I ate that entire biscuit (in two sittings because those things are massive holy hell), and I lived to tell he tale. And my strawberry binge gave me just the energy I needed to move my entire life from one apartment to another. Both served their function, be it through providing a happy time with friends or giving me extra energy boost for moving shit.
As my good friend and fellow lifter of heavy weights, Sarah, once told me, "remember to be less cyborg, more human." As she's always right in most everything she says, she was also right in this. We're often wired to be so hard on ourselves, so laser focused, that we forget to live and let go. There is nothing wrong with being focused on a goal and determined to get there, but keeping a balanced perspective will turn strawberries into super fuel and biscuits into memories.
"Everything in Moderation"
You remember that term from 6 months ago about that pit in your stomach feeling that there is a world out there that you are not privy to, or that there is a party going on sone where and you're missing it? FOMO. Everyone has felt it. I, too, fell into the snares of FOMO, admittedly all too recently.
Due to scheduling conflicts and life priority shifts, I have been forced to go to the gym less frequently during the week as I like. I KNOW. It's the worst. Anyway, while in the throes of my new schedule shift, I had somehow lost my identity as the Monday-Friday (and, let's be real, Saturday and Sunday) frequenter of my CrossFit gym (CrossFit Queens). Would I get weaker? Would my passion for it dwindle? Would I still see my friends? I have spent a better part of 1 2/3 years self-identifying as an athlete, a CrossFitter, a health nut. As silly as it sounds, I needed to relearn who I was without it.
I turned to my life coach and fitness coach and friend, CJ, to help me through this weird existential time. I told him the story of Monday-Friday and FOMO, and he simply replied with, "everything in moderation." And it clicked. Nothing will go away or change if you loosen the grip. In fact, things will change whether you have a grip on it or not! So keep yourself in check, live your life in moderation, and trust that you will move with the change just as easily as it comes through. Chances are, you'll just miss a day or two of box jumps and deadlifts, and you dislike those things anyway.
"Just try RomWod"
When my friend and incredibly flexible human, Tim, suggested I try this activity that could only be described as, "yoga for CrossFitters", I was pessimistic, to say the least. I found myself overwhelmed by little life annoyances (read: biscuit guilt and FOMO) that often times turn into bigger, out of control mental blocks, and meditation seemed like the least effective use of my time. I couldn't imagine doing anything other than wallow in my negative head space because isn't that just the most logical thing? I. was. wrong.
Meditation and mobility, along with food choices and exercise, are SO FREAKING IMPORTANT FOR BALANCE. Physically and mentally. There is so much baggage we carry around throughout the day. Physically and mentally. As much as you think it won't be beneficial, and as much as you think it will be a waste of time, take the chance to give back to yourself and mobilize/meditate. You will be releasing your body of tension, stress, and life shit. And that alone will keep you balanced. Trust.
"Call your mom"
This one is a reminder to me as much as it is for you. There are people in your life who you don't see every day, who are on the very bottom layer of your foundation, the very outer fringes of your being. They are the ones who encouraged you to become you. This very you this moment. It could be your mom, or a friend, sister, father, coach, whoever. Take a second to call this person up, check in, and connect. It will force your life to stop spinning so quickly for a moment. And it takes the attention away from the FOMO and the strawberries.