Balance: The glue of life (part 1)

4 Jan

“Well time makes you bolder
even children get older
and I’m getting older too.”
~“Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac

The more I go through life, I come to a deeper understanding of my desire to find balance in the everyday: that perfect mix of work, family, personal time, fun, and creativity/spontaneity. I have decided to really contemplate this over the course of my Public Allies experience. What exactly is my ideal balance in life? How do I make it a reality in my daily life?

HeavenlyFinding the light.

The Nitty/Gritty AKA Breakdown

I have done some personal calculations and realized that out of the 168 hours available weekly, I spend anywhere from 45-57.5 hours in the world of Public Allies, 35-40 hours a week sleeping, and 70.5-88 hours for my personal life. The Public Allies experience can be both rewarding and challenging. I really enjoy everything that I put myself into in the Public Allies world but there are some days that run from 8 in the morning until 10 at night when I have to go from placement to an evening meeting for my Team Service Project. It is really like having both a full- (time spent at placement) and part-time job (time spent with training and the TSP).

For a while, I was working at the Shedd Aquarium on Sundays. I recently chose to stop working a second job because I knew my commitments for Public Allies were going to increase with the January 16 kickoff for the Chicago Team Service Projects. It was really great working there. The staff was a lot of fun, guests were very diverse, and it was great getting to see live animals every shift. I may end up working there after I graduate from Public Allies. Here are some pictures I took during my time working there:

seahorse tree from a wider angle“A Seahorse Tree”

sting rays

“Sting Rays”

startled fish
“Surprised Fish”

upside down jelly
“Upside Down Jellyfish”

Another reason why my experience as an Ally can be challenging is because I have this strong desire to want to give equal focus to Public Allies and my personal commitments. I happen to be an Ally who is married. During some weeks when I get really busy, it can be difficult to give equal time/attention to my husband. Not only that, I also have family who live in the area that I want to spend time with. Though my husband and family are mostly understanding about what my Public Allies experience entails, there are some times when I am unable to provide the full support I would like to. This is something I am actively working on throughout my Ally experience.

(To be Continued in Part 2. Advice and Insights)

Food for Thought: What type of balance do you prefer in your life and how do you find it?


2 Responses to “Balance: The glue of life (part 1)”

  1. Ebony Le-a Scott January 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    Interesting piece Kaleena. And I love your food for thought…it’s pretty timely for me given the changes up ahead for me in 2012. When I was in my mid to late 20’s I used to be really frantic about finding balance and making sure one thing didn’t take up so much of my focus/time that it tipped the scales too much in one way or another. And then as I got a wee bit older, a little more seasoned, (and a little more bruised by life’s hard knocks) I realized that for me seeking balance was a mistake and only caused me to feel fragmented and stressed and what I was really looking for was to feel whole and like myself all the time. Two years ago I was chatting with Cris (Ros Dukler — our esteemed COO) about my personal and professional life and she shared with me a pearl of wisdom that she discovered in her life that made her happier, calmer, and more centered. She told me what I was looking for wasn’t balance, but integration. During our sanka moment (eighties reference, holla if you loved flavored coffee!) all kinds of light bulbs went off for me and I instantly felt better. I began to realize the power of living in alignment.

    I’m someone who loves to work, I mean really loves it. No matter where my paycheck comes from I throw myself in completely and commit fully. In my civic life I am the same way, and when it comes to my personal relationships also — everything gets 110% — so for me it just made sense to figure out a way to live my life in a way that would allow me to integrate the things that feed my soul. So on the last PA service day I brought my nephew, when I’m volunteering to cook at HPSS soup kitchen I drag my sister and brother in law along or force a friend to come, I cook food for my co-workers and follow them on Facebook and twitter because for me this type of integration works. Many people bring up boundaries and things like that, and of course they are extremely important and I’m not suggesting otherwise. What I’m getting at is that I think you have to know yourself first and not be ashamed or scared that someone will think you work too much or do this or that too little. How does someone else know what’s too much or too little for you? Only I know that. Balance works for some and integration works just as well for others. Know which one you want and go for it!


  1. Part II: Camp Lake Placid, we hold you in our hearts… | Ally Snapshots - March 1, 2012

    […] Yoga has been a newfound interest of mine which I picked up at the tail end of last year. I chose to go to this session to join with others who also enjoyed yoga. The room was packed with about 30+ people. We learned about the different areas which yoga focuses on and practiced improving our stances with the help of a partner. It was a great experience which reminded me of the importance of quiet and stillness in life as well as the post I wrote back in January called “Balance, the Glue of Life. (Part 1).” […]

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