Lately the word ‘balance’ has been weighing on my mind. The past few months have been extremely busy for me and an increase in responsibilities and commitments have resulted in an imbalance in my life. Currently I am the literacy coach at my school, but beginning in August, I will move into the role of vice principal. While this impending change is exciting, it brings increased responsibilities as I not only fulfill my current duties, but begin the transition into leadership and begin taking on additional meetings and projects. I have become aware that I have been neglecting other aspects of my life as a result of this change.
This weekend, within a span of 24 hours, two of my friends told me that they thought the lack of communication from me was because they did something to upset me. Not at all! How could they think that? They’re wonderful people and I love them. Upon reflection, I realized that I have been neglecting my friendships. I think deep down I knew this was happening, but I decided not to think about it. I do that sometimes. If there’s something going on that’s too much to handle, or if I don’t want to face it at the moment, I’ll avoid it. Not the best tactic, I know, but I do it.
The need for balance in my life has led me to reflect on all of my responsibilities- those related to relationships and work and personal commitments. First and foremost, relationships are important to me. I want to cultivate friendships here in Shanghai with my friends, many of whom have become my family. Cultivating these friendships means spending time together. I have relationships with family and friends abroad that require my love and attention, and all too often are the first to be neglected. You know the saying ‘Out of sight, out of mind’? Well, it’s not really true that they are out of my mind, but the relationships with people you directly interact with tend to take priority even when you try to make a concerted effort to spread yourself evenly amongst all of your friends, no matter their location. The fact that I live in a completely different time zone only complicates matters.
I also have other commitments that fill my schedule. Work responsibilities take a lot of my time, and more and more I am finding that I have less time at work to complete tasks so I am taking things home more often, resulting in less time to devote to my relationships. There are also personal goals that I would like to achieve such as writing, reading, exercise, and cooking. I can’t tell you the last time I cooked myself a meal. It’s much easier to just order in and eat while I’m working on something else. I also realize I’m the worst at responding to emails or other correspondence. I used to be really good at emailing people back in a timely manner or even initiating contact, but lately, I find myself drowning in a sea of communication and I can’t devote the necessary time to respond to everyone. Work emails are always responded to in a prompt manner, but personal ones, not so much. If I haven’t responded right away and it’s been a few days, I feel bad, and therefore, sometimes avoid responding altogether. Why do I do this?
How can I find a balance between maintaining relationships and fulfilling my work and personal responsibilities? I feel like this is preparation for next year, when life is going to be even more busy, and I hope I can figure it all out by then. In the meantime, I hope that everyone can bear with me while I try to navigate the waters of this newfound “busyness.” I’m confident that I’ll figure it out somehow, but I’m just not sure when. I cannot imagine what it would be like if I had a family of my own. I am in awe of anyone who manages a job, kids, and other life responsibilities. I don’t know how you do it!