Living a good life is very much about health. It’s about eating right and about exercise and fitness. And yet, there is really so much more to a healthy life; it’s about our activities, what we do with our lives on a daily basis, and about the people we have in our lives. Paying attention to all these things is what allows a balance in life. Some of the daily activities that make up the bulk of our lives are some kind of engaging work, family and social connections, active entertainment, healthy eating and exercise, spirituality, the arts, and travel. We need all these elements in our lives and for the best quality in life we need them in balance. That doesn’t mean that we spend the same amount of time in each area, but that we don’t allow any one area to be overwhelmingly dominant of our time and efforts.
I struggle, like all of us, to find that balance. Whenever I focus too much on any one area, I begin to feel the unbalance. Whenever I neglect any one area, I feel unbalanced. For many years, as I wanted to be a professional artist, I focused almost all of my time solely on art: making art, looking at art, studying art and artists. I learned a lot about art, yes, but also about myself since art is a foray into self. I did many other things, such as travel through various areas of Asia. I studied lots of interesting topics, such as history of plants and world religions.
But art by necessity is a solitary occupation, and I focused on art to the exclusion of allowing people into my life. And any activities I did, I only wanted them to be connected to art. I did travel paintings. I would hike, but only far enough in to paint a scene. I neglected exercise to better spend my time on studying art. “Unbalanced” rang high.
Now I’m spending more time at tai chi and meditation. I’m running again and exercising. I’m connecting more with family and rejuvenating old friendships. While studying art, I learned the importance of following my joy. And this is something I can recommend for everyone. Follow your joy into a balanced life.