Shirin Gerami

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Overly Balanced?

Year one at university:

I entered university bursting with excitement! So many books, so many amazing people, such an inspiring environment for learning… I had come to university to learn and I wanted to dedicate the entirety of my three years to learn – no faffing about.

Suffice it to say that my yearbook entry read: Favourite time of day: when the library opens; Favourite place: the library. Where to be found when lost: The library… I’ll spare you the rest.

By the end of the year, I felt for the first time, that I actually knew of a thing or two about what was happening around me. I could hold a conversation, enter a debate, write an essay – things that were completely beyond my abilities prior to university. However, I felt I had become a bit too one dimensional, that I was missing out on many other things in life.

That’s not right, I thought to myself. I need to find a balance.

Year two at university:

I plunged into as many extra curricular activities as humanly possibly. My friends described me as a blur, seen whizzing on my bike from one commitment to the other. My tutor once asked: so when do you relax? I relax by changing the type of activity I’m involved in, I said. I relax my brain when doing sports, relax my body when at a meeting, have fun when fundraising for charity, socialise when setting up events for the societies I am part of…

It was wonderful to be involved in so many activities, to be aware of so many different things happening around me, to meet so many different people through all these societies. However, I realised I had been so busy rushing from one activity to another, so busy trying to achieve all that I wanted to achieve, that I had left my friends no time at all. Frankly, my world is nothing without my friends. They are always there for me, but I felt I was never there for them.

That’s not right, I thought to myself. I need to find a balance.

Year three at university:

The most important thing that makes me be who I am, that inspires me to want achieve all I want to achieve are the people around me. I wanted to give back to them, all the love and motivation they had always given me – be there whenever they needed me. So I spent this stage of university prioritising my friends over my studies and extra curricular activities. To be flexible enough to be available whenever someone called, either to share their happiness or give a big energising hug when in need.

By the end of the year, I felt closer to my friends like I had never felt before. This amazing bond, the ability to share the moments and develop such a lovely relationship. It was beautiful. But I no longer felt content with myself. I felt I hadn’t achieved all that I could’ve, hadn’t developed myself as I should’ve.

That’s not right, I thought to myself. I need to find a balance.

And now:

I went to a yoga class. At the very end, and completely out of the blue, the teacher suddenly asked the class a very simple question: What is a balanced life?

I had never thought of asking myself that question before… What is a balanced life?

Honestly, we spend our entire life trying to achieve it, but what is a balanced life?!!!

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