Thursday, March 18, 2010

Discovering Peace Within Chaos

This morning on the Today Show Ann Curry answered the question, "How do you find balance in your life?" She stated that her doctor had actually asked her this a few years ago. Ann told him that she balanced between her children and her work. She was then told by her doctor that that wasn't good enough. He stated that we would all live more fulfilled and longer lives if we discovered our passions and made sure to incorporate them into the balance of our lives.

That statement really struck a chord with me. I believe that many of us do not have that balance. We are so concerned with work, school, children, households, money and relationships with others that we forget the most important relationship of all- the one we have with ourselves. What makes us happy? As women, we are tuned to figure out what makes others happy. We want our children, spouses, parents, siblings, friends to all be happy. We work so hard at those relationships, at pleasing others, at being strong for others, bending over backwards for others, putting their needs before our own that we don't make time for ourselves.

After watching this interview I was rather saddened by the thought that I cannot think of a true passion of mine. Ann discovered her passion after that conversation with her doctor. It is photography. Others I know have a similar passion, and also an eye to go along with it. Some people run, volunteer, bike ride, blog with a passion. I also do none of those things with a burning passion. I do not feel strongly enough for them that they act as part of the balance that is my life. I feel I have no fire in my heart, nothing that would help me to balance out my life. To remember myself and that I need time for me.

I think back to when I had more time. When I was younger. What really meant a lot to me? What drove me. What was I excited about doing? What did I like to do best? Three things come to mind.

Reading would be the first. I have been a voracious reader since a young age, devouring whatever book came across my path. My mother used to come into my room well past my bedtime and discover me hiding under my covers with a flashlight and book in hand. I couldn't start a book without finishing it within two days. I HAD to read. It was my air. It had its advantages as well. Growing up I excelled at English, Spelling and History. I was advanced at a young age in my reading level, reading books well above the level of the ones my peers would be reading. I always made time for extracurricular reading. Until the last few years. Being a full-time student and working full-time took its toll on me. All I read were textbooks. There was little time or desire for me to want to read on my own. Then I became pregnant and all I read were pregnancy books and magazines. Now that I am a stay at home mom, in the little free time I have, I find myself reading books on child growth and what to expect in these next few months with Aidan. As I type this I am facing two large bookshelves covered with my books. I can honestly say that 1/4 of them I have not read and another 1/4 I started but did not have time to finish.

It seems that time always plays a roll. There is never enough time in the day anymore. This brings me to my second joy. I love to hike, to be outdoors, to smell the trees and to breathe in fresh air. I have been able to take Aidan for walks recently since the weather has been beautiful. But, I would rather be hiking in the woods, on trails and off. Discovering new flora and fauna, hearing the water tinkle its way through clear streams and down mossy covered rocks. Jason and I used to live very close to a National Park in Ohio as well as the Ohio Erie Canal Towpath and the Metroparks. In the warmer months we lived outside. We often took long walks along the river and through the forest and over boulder-cladden trails. Here in Houston we are removed from nature. The outdoors that I love are absent here in this large, concrete jungle.

And finally, my last love ties into the outdoors. My love of travel. I was very fortunate as a child that my parents were able to take us on many vacations. I have explored almost every one of the 48 continental United States. And most of them before the age of 18. I love discovering new places, seeing the timeless beauty of historical structures, taking in the vastness of the National Parks and smelling the salt air of a new sea coast. I also love to plan trips. I spend weeks and even months mapping out our route, finding what places to stay at, researching restaurants and discovering things to do in the area. In these last few years travel is also something that has been on the bottom of my priority list. Mainly because we do not have the money to go on vacation. The last real vacation I went on was almost five years ago. FIVE YEARS! I used to go on a vacation every year. I made it a point. Not only to see a new place, but for my own mental health. If anything, we all need to getaway from reality just to recover and reconnect with ourselves and our loved ones.

I need to find my passion. I want that balance. I feel that I owe it to myself and my family to find that balance and to incorporate it into my daily life. Maybe I'll find that once I pick up a book again and devote time everyday to reading, it may well become a passion of mine once more. Or perhaps I will need to make more of an effort to find new outdoor places to discover, even if that means going the distance to find them. And possibly Jason and I will be able to fit it in our budget to take a vacation as a family. It would give me the opportunity to plan something fun for all of us that we can all benefit from. Or there may be something else out there, something I have yet to find that will help me balance out my life. Afterall, as Ann stated at the end of her interview, we all need to discover peace within the chaos of our lives and that is with balance.

Do you have balance in your life? What is your passion?

If you would like to view Ann's interview you can find it here.


  1. What a beautiful post. I'm glad you've taken the time to think out this important question, one that I think we all ponder in the midst of chaotic lives. Reading, history, being outdoors...all sound like good passions to me! My personal passion is languages, though that might be obvious. This can mean watching a foreign film, speaking or reading in another language. Even listening to languages I don't know, brings me joy. Luckily there are a lot to choose from!
    Much luck incorporating your passions into life.


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