I have blogged about life balance before, and I give presentations on that topic as well. I also spend time thinking about how my relationships with various people provide a supportive balance to me as a person.
Most of my friends have heard me wax poetic about how my darling husband is very different from me — in a way that I appreciate, because I feel it makes us a good team. He’s very relaxed and laid-back and thinks in terms of the big picture. I’m assertive, a go-getter, and detail-oriented. He lives in the moment, I tend to pace toward the future. He tends to think things through very carefully, sometimes taking a long time to make a decision. I tend to be rather impulsive and impatient! We have been together 15 years now, and I have come to love these differences. Just by being himself, he helps me relax and enjoy things as they are. We have many things in common, but the differences keep it interesting. I started to respect, honor, and cherish our differences when I went through coach training and began to perceive things differently.
My sister is another case in point. We are only 14 months apart in age, and we couldn’t be more different. We inverted most of the standard older child/younger child dynamics (she’s younger, but was much bolder than I was). We have dealt with common issues in our family, of course, but beyond that we are extremely different. We fought like cats and dogs growing up, of course, and we could never live in the same house again without maiming each other (if the last time we tried that is any indication). Over the years, I have come to truly value our differences, as she gives me a totally unique perspective on things. If we had met as strangers, I don’t know if we would have become friends — the differences would have made it seem as if we had nothing in common. As sisters, our relationship is all over the place, in a good way! We are starting to discover the things that we do have in common now.
My book group, of which I have been a member for 15 years, is another great example. We have a wide range of women in the group — some are mothers, some are grandmothers, some have never had kids. We have marrieds, divorceds, and never marrieds. Some young, some older, some in between. A variety of hobbies and careers are represented. The discussion is always lively. Heated disagreements, loud laughter, and a lot of thinking and interpreting. It’s a monthly discussion that really challenges and stimulates me because of all the differences in perception.
Enough about me! What relationships balance you? Whom do you love because of (not in spite of) your differences?