Monday, January 30, 2012


I have one resolution for 2012. I'm quite certain it's the most unoriginal a person can have but here it is none the less. My 2012 resolution is: find balance (or some semblance of it at least). Balance between work and play, laziness and exercising, spending money and saving pennies, putting things away and living among the chaos, chocolate and vegetables, beer and wine, you know, the essentials. Ironically, this new goal is what has kept me from blogging for a while. I've been too busy trying to live my daily life to take any time to record it.

I heard a great quote the other day that sums up my new mentality: Live in the moment, not the memory. Instead of trying to get the greatest photo of Maci so I can blog about it later, putting the camera away and just being present in her presence. Instead of having the perfect meal out with Shawn, being okay with driving around lost for an hour only to arrive at the destination and realize there's an hour wait. Instead of offering to correct a mistake at work so as to ensure perfection, accepting something as "good enough" so I can get home to see my family. Instead of waiting until I've returned to my pre-pregnancy weight so I can fit back into my old clothes, buying new clothes to fit my new physique and even greater still, being okay with it because damn it, I sure do feel much better about myself when I wear clothes that actually fit.

That last example, about money, is probably the hardest with which to find balance. Shawn and I, for better or for worse, are planners. Painfully so. And it isn't any more apparent then in our quest for a new TV. Initially, I was just going to buy one, bring it home and surprise Shawn for his birthday. The more I thought about it though, the more I feared getting the "wrong" one and spending such a big chunk of our money without getting his opinion. Inevitably, I caved and told him about my plans. After some mild persuading, he agreed to the purchase and we returned to researching the latest, greatest, fancy models but have yet to actually buy a TV. His birthday was December 19th. We're stuck between 2D and 3D. (I'll let you take a guess at who wants what.) I struggle with wanting to save money and be "safe" or just splurging and living life and rewarding ourselves with things we like, ie a TV. My Dad made it through some very, very tough financial times with hard work and a lot of budgeting to end up debt free by the time he was 50. He took his life a month before he would've turned 51. It's a blunt, painful example but it's also just that, an example. As I've heard so many times from so many people, you can't take your money with you when you go so you might as well enjoy yourself while you're here. We're too level-headed to take that to the extreme but it's a good theory to at least dabble in once in a while. Keep it in your back pocket for the day you finally allow yourself that trip to [ENTER DESTINATION HERE] while your husband's off to Canada, fishing, for the third year in a row.

Whether to save money for the "what ifs" or spend it on the "why nots" is only a drop in the bucket. I struggle to find balance on an hourly basis. Do I clean up the house or watch a movie with Shawn? Do I try and entertain Maci or help her learn to exist in her own space? Do I eat a donut or choke down an apple? Do I go to yoga or take a nap? Do we work on the house or go on vacation? Should I be proud of my cynicism or work on being positive? And the thing that trumps all other things when it comes to trying to find balance: how does one be a mother, a wife, an employee, a woman and an individual, all at the same time and all without getting completely sucked into the vortex of one or two of the above. Unfortunately, as with all wonders of the universe, I fear there is no right answer. As someone of the type A persuasion, this is hard to swallow. I fear open-endedness. Pretty sure that's not a word but maybe with the hyphen I can get away with it? Enquiring minds want to know: How does one achieve balance? I'm actually asking you dammit!


  1. I would just say that balance is what you make it. Everyone's balance is dynamic and always changing. It's like life's center of gravitiy is always moving locale and we are tyring to keep up with what life throws at us in order to keep ourself centered. It begs the question, should we spend our time trying to prepare for where it's going to move next or just enjoy the ride:) Either way as long as I'm on the ride next to you I can't wait to find out.

  2. I've come across this question a time or two and I have yet to find an answer. Quite frankly, it's because there isn't one. Recently I had to accept the fact that I have to drop a class with a W, pay some tuition back, and move forward and not let myself think I'm "old Mandi". I'm not. I'm doing what's best for me and my family at the present time. The Navy will always throw us curve balls and I'm sure the kids will to. Only you know what's best for you and your family. It's okay to plan but also okay to let those plans change or be postponed. BTW, a vacation to the beach while your husband is gone to Canada? ;-) I have a pool! I'm not afraid to bribe. hehe

  3. Money Balance -- being a planner why not "balance" by actually budgeting money each week to splurge? If you don't use it that week, add to the next week's money. OR take a huge leap of faith and ask yourself theses questions -- if all of them are YES I buy whatever it is I believe my heart desires:

    Do I see myself in a year using this or remembering this (as in a trip)?

    Do I see myself grinning ear to ear in a month because I did this?

    Will this be a great story for my grandkids? (okay, I use great-nieces and nephews).

    As to "balancing" being an individual, a mom, a worker, a wife...thing is, I see myself as just simply PENNY. Throughout various times of the day I may be working, studying, yucking it up with friends, blogging to a family member (ahem). And it works. For the most part. If work wants me to be there late but school has a prior committment, sorry work. If I need to talk to family or do something for them but work is demanding my attention AT work, I ask: can this wait? Its not a perfect answer...then again, being a semi-converted Type B (I fall back into Type A a lot these days), I've learned to live AND THRIVE in a "not perfect" world. Withdrawal was rough.

    Given the choice of housework or family, my motto is and always has been family. Given the choice between apples and chocolate, well I don't like chocolate so that was easy. Given the choice between planning for the future and living in the present? Well, harder but as long as I know I'm moving in the right direction for my future, have a small nest egg to fall back on (which will disappear oh so quickly now), then I choose NOW. Live in the NOW.

    And if all else fails, there is faith. I am a big believer in faith -- even when the most hurtful things in life happen to me and those I love I still have my faith...

    enough! As your grandma says "It will all work out in the wash."

    I love you and can't wait to see you.

    Cousin Penny

  4. Honey, follow your heart! Mr. DeBoer said it best, and I quote, "It begs the question, should we spend our time trying to prepare for where it's going to move next or just enjoy the ride". Enjoy your ride, whatever you make it with your family. The thing is you don't need permission. You're no longer that little girl that needs to please. Please yourself, your husband and that beautiful daughter of yours.



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