Life in the ditches – finding balance in the five equities of life

file000960205935They were a decent and colorful pair. He a retired farmer. She his wife of many decades. We became friends when they moved to the small Arizona city in which we were living. One day we met on the street and in the course of the conversation he told me he had to take his wife to an appointment in a nearby town about 30 miles away.

“Can’t she drive herself?” I asked.

“Oh no,” he answered. “She doesn’t know how to drive.”

At the risk of intruding when I probably should be minding my own business, I ventured that perhaps she should learn how to drive since it might be helpful if he were not around.

“Oh, I tried,” he said. “I tried more than once. When we lived back on the far we had lots of country roads to practice on but it just never worked.”

Then, he offered an observation about his wife’s attempts to learn to drive that I think has a much broader application.

“The only time she got in the middle of the road was to change ditches.”

This is true on so many levels.

We use the terms with honest intention and they flow off our tongue like mantras. We want to be “centered.” We’re committed to keeping our lives in “balance.”

But truthfully most of us live from extreme to extreme. We find the middle of the road but only when we’re changing ditches.

Finding Balance in the Five Equities of Life

At times of frustration and pressure we look at life and the way we are living it with some longing to simplify and focus. But we’re drawn in many directions and we have many interests and obligations. It takes genuine courage and deliberate effort to attend to the five equities of life – physical, intellectual, financial, psychological, and spiritual.

We are not singular beings. Those five equities are purchased, bought with time and attention, the investment of living because they equal a balanced life.

Now, I am a realist. I doubt that anyone is in perfect balance. We are always out of balance to some degree, but as we mature those imbalances tend to work themselves out if we pay attention to them. If you’re too busy to attend to all five equities, well then, you’re too busy. And don’t engage in self-deceit by telling yourself that your current imbalance is only temporary. Ditches tend to be places where we get stuck and you might need help digging yourself out.

Find your middle of the road and stay there. Overcompensation leads only to another ditch. Since equity is gained by investment, which one needs more investment from you right now?

There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences. Jack Welch

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