by Pride Transport | Apr 08, 2020
If you read any form of social media or you stand in line at a supermarket, you’re going to see advice about how to live a better life. Diet and exercise advice. Meditation and natural supplements advice and all manner of self-help, best practices, and the latest and greatest. If they work for you, great, if not, don’t stress over it. In reality, we’re not all the same and there is no one way to live a better life. It’s a combination, a mixture ...a balance.
Under all the fads and must-dos is one concept that we can all actually get on board with and that is balance. Finding balance is important for all of us. Balancing our jobs with our free time, work with family time, pleasure with responsibility. We all have to find our own, personal idea of balance. A person in a magazine who is offering balance doesn’t have the same things to balance as you do. The idea of balance is universal, how you achieve it is personal.
Balance in life is the key ingredient in achieving success. Now, before you start to memorize what’s written here like a how-to book thinking you’ll follow six or seven steps and then you’ll be a success, stop for a moment.
You have to understand that success doesn’t have a universal definition. Finding your balance starts with you defining what success is for you. One man’s success can truly be another man’s nightmare. So, take a moment and think about the word success and define it for yourself.
You’re going to have to dig deep for this. The natural inclination is to picture scads of money, boats, houses, cars, you know, all the trappings, all the symbols of what we’ve been told in our modern society, are the definition of success.
Allow that fantasy and then, let it go. Look around, look inside, what is in your heart of hearts when you say success? Is it family and good friends, enough money to keep them happy and healthy. Is it a nice vacation once a year? Is it paying all the bills and having just enough money left over to buy that special someone a long wished for gift? Or, is it really scads of money and cars, houses, etc., etc?
Like your success, your balance is going to be personal. You cannot use someone else’s life as a template and do what they do and expect to find peace in balance. You need to connect your balance to your idea of success, to your life, your family and your own goals.
Finding your balance is going to allow you to see the bigger picture. You’ll find yourself discarding things that don’t really help you and you’re going to have a more clear idea of where you’re going and what you’re seeking from life.
But, be careful, seeking balance can easily throw you off balance.
Like anything in this day of the internet, especially social media, it’s easy to get obsessed with the latest thing. Becoming obsessed with finding balance can become a new obsession. If this happens then the search for balance in your life is going to become stressful, obsessive and it will lead to a completely unbalanced life.
The point is not to judge and not to take someone else’s idea of success and try to jam it into your life. That’s not a road to balance. Define your own personal success. Once you’ve defined it clearly and you feel at peace with it, then you can start seeking your balance.
“The best is the enemy of good.” -Voltaire
Living with balance is very different from trying to live an idealistic dream. You know, the one where you exercise six times a week, eat only the healthiest foods and spend every spare minute learning something new. That is not balance. That is obsession.
A balanced life means you look at your life, not a magazine idea of what life is, and you work from there. A balanced life means you exercise just enough. You eat healthy foods just enough. You spend just enough time expanding your mind. And you do just enough for you. Perhaps when you’re finding balance you’ll feel that you can and you want to exercise another day each week, you want to eat another healthy meal during the week, you want to take a class in your spare time. You’ll come to this choice by viewing your life through your idea of balance.
Highs and lows
We can find a good metaphor for balance in the story of Icarus.
Icarus was a prisoner on the Isle of Crete. His father fashioned a set of wings for him from feathers and wax. His father admonished him not to be complacent and fly too low for then the seas would catch him. Nor should he be too obsessive and fly too high for the sun would melt the wax in his wings and he would fall to the sea and drown. His father told him to fly high enough to see where he was going and to stay above danger but not give in to temptation. It’s the perfect metaphor for balance.
Greek philosophy gave us the concept of The Golden Mean, advising us to navigate the desirable middle between extremes of excess and deficiency. Buddhism has a similar concept; the middle way, samatā. This states that Nirvana can be achieved by walking the line between sensual indulgence and withdrawn asceticism - neither too much pleasure nor too little. Balance, but finding that within yourself, not in comparison to others.
Everything in your life can be subject to balance. Food, drink, exercise, entertainment, work and especially relationships.
Good relationships have the potential to give us extra years, they help fight against stress, they can improve our immune system. Lonely people are more prone to depression, pain, fatigue and tend to have higher blood pressure later in life. Developing good relationships can help with all those problems. And part of developing good relationships is finding balance in them.
It may sound deeply romantic to say to someone: “I cannot live without you”. but, when you really think about that, it’s not healthy. You’re saying to someone, if you aren’t here, I’ll die. That’s not romantic at all. What if you want to have a beer with the guys after work or you want to have a girl’s night out? Well, you can’t because if you do, someone is going to die. That kind of pressure does not aid in finding balance in your life.
A good relationship happens when two people bring themselves fully to the table. You have lived for this long without her and you will continue to live if she leaves however, life feels better with her in it.
You will do the things you can to make her know she’s important and special so she continues to enhance your life, but, you’re not going to die if she spends the weekend in New Hampshire antiquing without you. In fact, it’s probably just the opposite.
The point is a good relationship with another person needs balance. Just like a good relationship between you and your life needs balance.
Balance while driving
As a truck driver, it may be a little harder to find and cultivate a balanced life because of schedules, distance and job requirements. It’s a little more difficult but it's not impossible.
There are great ways to balance the food you’re eating on the road. There’s nothing wrong with a nice, greasy cheeseburger now and then, but, you’ll want something to balance that with.
What about drive time versus sleep time. You can balance the time you drive with the time you’re giving your body to recharge with sleep. Sleep is vital to a healthy, balanced life.
Maybe you can balance those long stretches of time you’re on the road alone with company. Bringing your dog along with you can help you find mental balance.
Maybe you’ve had enough of the solo driving life and being a part of a team could bring some balance to your life on the road.
There are many ways to find that balance while you’re driving. Talk to other drivers, find out what they do to keep a balanced, healthy life while driving. With all that, there is one major step you can take to find a better balance in your driving life...
Being disconnected can cause all kinds of emotional and even physical problems in your life. Disconnection from family and friends can cause depression and feelings of low self-worth and desperation. Disconnection from a spouse or partner can cause feelings of doubt and maybe distrust. Being disconnected from life can lead to a myriad of issues that will throw you out of balance and into a place you just don’t want to be.
Staying connected while you’re on the road is vital to a better life, a healthier mind and body and finding balance. It’s not that difficult, especially in this age of computers, smartphones and all they can do. Here are three things you can do to help you remain connected while driving.
Talk about it
Have you taken the time to explain and talk about your crazy schedule with those you care about? Maybe not. You should, this kind of talk is very important. Especially with your family. Let them know and help them to understand that you’re working so much and so hard to support their needs and to give them the best life possible.
“They should know” is not an answer that is going to lead you to better balance. Maybe they should know and most likely they do know, but hearing from you, making them part of your life is going to make them feel more connected to you and you to them.
If everyone in the family knows the why of your schedule, it’s going to make it easier for them to find ways to cope with you being away for some long. Remember, just as you’re seeking balance so are they and you can help each other achieve that balance.
We are drowning in technology. People barely make eye contact any longer because they’re trapped in their phones. But, for all it’s evil, technology can be your friend when you’re seeking balance and connection on the road.
As a driver obviously there are going to be days and special events you will have to miss. Rather than getting angry about it, causing a loss of balance, be there virtually. Skype, facetime, phone calls, connect with friends and family any way you can. Being there on a device means a lot to the people back home and you’ll get to share the experiences you think you are missing in a meaningful way.
A phone call at night, on a birthday…really anytime shows you care and it will help you feel more connected and thus more balanced in life.
Maintain your schedule
As a driver, you may find that it’s easier to stay connected to those back home if you set and keep a schedule. Perhaps try to schedule breaks and non-driving time to coincide with those back home so you can more easily interact with them.
If you have family that has a break in their work or school life, such as winter or summer breaks, consider cutting back on your driving during those periods so you can share ore time with them. Then, when their break is over, so is yours. You may find that you return to work with a better attitude, newly refreshed and then you have something to look forward to next year. Something you can communicate about with your family and friends.
“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man.” - Euripede
Ultimately, balance will make you look forward to the workday as much as you look forward to the time off. Finding balance does take change, sacrifice and a new way of looking at your world. But, always keep in mind that you will and can only achieve balance for you and your life.
Your life will always involve others, relationships are vital, but you have to define balance on a personal level. Trying to find balance through another person’s life is akin to standing at the North Pole and saying now I want to go north, you’re moving away, not toward your goal. Connect, that’s a good step toward a balanced life.