Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.Thomas Merton
I went to an elementary/middle school called Thomas Merton Academy. When I got old enough to start really studying Thomas Merton, learning about his life, and more importantly reading his works, I fell in love with an intelligent, funny, and very balanced person. If you’ve never read The Seven Storey Mountain, I highly recommend it. It can be a bit heavy, and does have a Catholic lean to it, but I learned so much about life, about balance, and even about myself in that book.
Since I read that book in college, I’ve tried to focus my brain on balance. It’s not always easy. I have pretty bad anxiety, and I also deal with bipolar II disorder. These made focusing on balance in many aspects of my life more difficult. But it’s not impossible. Finding inspiration in others really has helped me a lot, and recently, I’ve been studying, reading, watching, and following more people who inspire me to be more balanced.
Obviously Thomas Merton is one of those people. Another is Sarah Tilse (Stevenson). She is a YouTube creator, health/fitness coach, mom, business-woman, and influencer. It’s maybe a little corny and strange for me (an almost 36-year-old mom) to admit that I follow and find inspiration in a younger YouTube creator/influencer, but I’m here to tell you that it’s okay. Do what helps you! Do what inspires you! You do you, boo!
I watched Sarah’s videos, read her blog, and listened to her podcast many years ago and she inspired me to get into the best shape of my life. Then I met my husband, got pregnant, had a baby, and have been trying to survive through a pandemic. Needless to say, I got a little off track (and just lost track of keeping up with her). But a few months ago, I started watching her videos and checking her Instagram again, and I have to say, she is still super inspiring to me!
Sarah admits to not “having it all together” all the time. She complains about her husband and shows the uglier sides of her life. She’s still an influencer and her income is based on having a more aesthetic, happy-looking life. I always take these things with a grain of salt. I also know I will never have a rocking body like her, because it’s just not how I’m built. But instead of being jealous or getting down on myself, something about her videos inspires me to do better for myself. It inspires me to work harder on my nutrition and health. And it has inspired me to start working on my hobbies (some of which I would love to turn into side gigs) again.
You may not like Sarah’s videos. You may not like watching YouTube, or following influencers at all. That’s cool. Find what helps you! What inspires you? What makes you want to do better; to be better? Surround yourself with things and people who make you feel good. Do what makes you happy. Start figuring out what balance means to you.
To me, balance is feeling happy, feeling at peace, and feeling like I’ve done the best I can in all aspects of my life. Making sure I’m there for my kids and my husband, making sure I’m taking care of myself (including nutrition and exercise), and making sure I’m working at a job that I enjoy and gives me the paycheck that we need.
For you, balance may mean something else entirely. Take some time to think about it. Maybe write down a list of what is required for your life to feel balanced (I LOVE lists)! The main thing I suggest is finding people who inspire you. Don’t be jealous of others’ lives, work hard to get the life that you want.