The pursuit of a ‘balanced life’ is often regarded as the ultimate salvation in the wellness community. A state described as when all facets of life are aligned or as defined by the dictionary, ‘a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.' Despite years studying health sciences and medicine I find the pursuit of a ‘balanced life’ over-promoted and generally under-recorded. Curious about the benefits of a balanced life I looked at the lifestyles of individuals in my life and what I found surprised me. I found that the most innovative, engaging, and interesting people I know have a lifestyle far from having elements in equal or correct proportion. They often swing from one extreme to the next without a steady method, and fearlessly throw themselves into pursuits. After exploring the concept of balance I concluded that balance is not a state I strive to achieve. I like momentum and thrive on the energy I experience when I am excited about a new project. I realized that the feeling of unbridled progression although sometimes overwhelming has been the catalyst for the most profound personal and professional growth in my life. I have discovered that what I find more interesting than analyzing the balance in my life, is thinking about the direction my life is tilting. Tilting forward in a positive direction is invigorating and generally makes me dive deeper into my pursuits. The momentum of tilting forward makes me stay longer at the office to finish a project, its the focus that results in skipping lunch because I am so engaged in my work, and its a feeling of content knowing things are happening in a creative flow. I have found that it is only when life starts moving in a direction I do not like that the awareness and concern for finding balance in my life becomes a priority.
A simple question to ask is this: In what direction is my life tilting? To me, life is not necessarily about finding the right balance, it may be about finding the right tilt. I embrace the tilt in my life, and adjust it when it doesn’t feel right because I know that if I am tilting in the right direction even if the momentum gets to be too much, I will at least fall in the right direction.
Sara Panton is a designer who creates spaces, products, and experiences that promote wellbeing. Co-founder and Creative Director of Vitruvi, she travels the world exploring rituals of people and places while designing products for the modern nomad.
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