The In Between
I once heard someone say, “I don’t think balance exists. I think choice exists.”
I think both exist.
I think we have to choose to seek balance. We have to choose to make it a priority in our lives. As a recent yogi, balance is a concept frequently discussed in the spaces I spend time in. And truthfully, I think the word has become a bit saturated and overused. I see “Find Your Balance” written on nearly everything—mugs, notebooks, tank tops (I’ll admit I have one myself). But it’s rare I stop to think about what balance really means to me, and how it plays out in my daily life.
It took me all of about six seconds to make a list of the places in which I struggle with balance the most.
Upon looking it over, I realized something: I crave the In Between.
My entire life, I have operated in extremes.
When I’m mad, I’m livid. When I’m sad, I’m devastated. When I’m happy, I’m ecstatic. I never really realized it until a high school teacher once asked me, “What’s it like to always feel things so intensely?” The question has lingered after all these years.
It seems I am always leaning too far to one side. When I decide I want to get fit, I adopt lifestyle changes like the Whole30, or pay to participate in Beachbody programs (both of which have served me well; don't get me wrong.) When I get tired of adhering to the rules, as I always do, I rebel by binge-eating an entire bag of Dove chocolates or three bagels topped with gooey, melted peanut butter.
At work, I’m either arriving early and staying late to get more done, or twiddling my thumbs until the clock reads 4:30. And then there’s my age. I’m in that fun and clunky In Between where half my peers are getting married, buying houses, and starting families, and the other half are throwing up in bathroom stalls in Dinkytown bars on the weekend. (This is one situation in which I’m happy to be somewhere in the middle.)
What I’m trying to say is I want to enjoy the In Between.
Since I started regularly practicing yoga, I’ve developed a new appreciation for balance. I’m learning that the In Between is where the magic happens. Leaning too far into a pose—or into anything—does more harm than good.
I literally can’t lean too far to one side in tree pose, for example, or I’ll fall over. Or I'll think I'm stable, but am likely putting unnecessary pressure on certain parts of my body. I have to seek the balance to stay stable and stay safe.
The In Between can be scary. It usually is. It’s wobbly and vulnerable and messy. (In yoga, it’s sweaty and shaky and you might feel like you want to give up or lie down, and did I mention it's sweaty?) But it’s where the growth happens.
A friend of mine recently told me life is like a scale; If we put all our weight on one side, the scale seems stable, but it isn't—because it isn't balanced. When we seek balance, things get a little dodgy and uncertain (picture the scale wobbling to regain stability), but eventually, they even back out. And it’s then we can appreciate life for what it is right now. Not what it was, not what it might be—but what it's like right here, in the In Between. Of course, this is much easier said than done, but I'm going to keep trying.
I’ve been living in extremes for long enough. I think I’ll hang out in the In Between.