I used to berate myself for failing to achieve a "perfectly balanced" daily rhythm while caregiving. Keeping up with the "must do" eldercare activities was a full time job, and I rarely got to the action items on my "should do" lists. At the end of the day, I highlighted all the areas in which I had fallen short, rather than the appreciating the good things I had accomplished.
A recent interview with philosopher Tom V. Morris has radically altered my perception. In an exploration of the ways in which the practical application of philosophy can transform our daily lives, we focused on the "7 Cs of Success" from Tom's book, The Art of Achievement.
Tom gave me food for thought while discussing the fourth "C," consistency:
"We need a stubborn consistency in pursuing our vision, but consistency doesn’t mean perfection. In fact, there is no such thing in life as perfect balance.
I remember as a kid, seeing the greatest tightrope walker in the world on the Ed Sullivan Show, the original variety show on TV. I thought I was going to see him walking along the tightrope like you or I would walk down the hallway.
He got on; the camera did a close up of his feet. His feet were always shaking, a little bit to the right, a little bit to the left, a little bit to the right. Years later, thinking back on that, I realized that’s what balance is like in life.
It’s not a matter of perfect smoothness. It’s a matter of constant correction. Don’t beat yourself up with guilt. Just make a correction.
In physics, they talk about a perfectly flat surface, a perfect sphere, about all these idealizations that don’t exist in the world. That’s the way the concept of balance can become in peoples’ minds. It can haunt them because there is no such thing as perfect balance, and everybody feels guilty, 'I don’t have it in my life.' Guess what? Nobody has it in their lives! The greatest liberation imaginable is realizing that and understanding that we’re not called to be perfect; we’re just called to be active, attentive, and corrective."
So if you want to experience a greater sense of well being in your life while caregiving, ease up on your quest for perfection and embrace this concept of dynamic correction!