A Balancing Act

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Equibbleibrium – the ongoing debate about where a level of balance is achieved

If I hold bowl of fruit in one hand, and a plate of chocolate cake in the other, do I reach equilibrium? Perhaps if I stand on one leg, lean hard to the left, have a five kilogram apple and a delicate morsel of cake, there’s a chance. But that would just look utterly silly*, and not be terribly much fun, either.

fruit and chocolate cake - the perfect balanced diet?
Picture from The Kitchn

It’s all a question of balance, really... Which gets me thinking about the concept of “work/life balance”, a term I particularly despise. It suggests all the other aspects of existence can be lumped haphazardly into one jumbled bucket (you don’t hear much about work/sleep/baking/studying/dancing/rabbitting-on-the-phone/gallivanting-round-Paris balance. Much as it might be far more realistic, and sound a bit more fun too). It suggests that work isn’t life which, for lots of people, is inaccurate and even just plain presumptuous. It’s almost always a euphemism for work/family, with a presumption that people that don’t have family responsibilities don’t do anything else besides work. Insert indignant and slightly self-righteous Harrumph! Right here beside the soap box, thanks.

So is it the apple or the chocolate cake that represents work? One makes you feel better for eating it, but, while satisfying, isn’t always what you crave. The other can be the stuff of daydreams, but might not live up to expectation and can leave you feeling lethargic after too much at once. It could go either way**. Perhaps that’s why it’s so important to have your cake and eat your apple, too...

* And is making me come over all Monty Python and think about standing on one leg and singing Jerusalem. What on earth do flamingos get up to, given they spend almost all their time on one leg? Perhaps they joke about acting funny when they’re on both legs...
** It feels a little like the food version of a Rorschach test. Now, what do you think of when you look at this brioche?

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