Balancing Trick

Life is all about balance.  I’m not talking about “work-life-balance” as that’s fairly straightforward – you should have as much life as possible, and as little work. The balance I’m talking about is more, a lack of extremes. 

For example, having a little shiny crystal in your purse, because you think it opens a chakra, or summons an angel, hurts no-one and might make you happy; having forty-thousand crystals strung up in every corner of your house, car and handbag makes you uncomfortable to be around  …literally.

Me Grimacing as Dad accidentally sits on a crystal and screams “Ow!”

Extremes have their own place too; it’s ok to pull an all-nighter once in a while to get a difficult chapter of a book written or, as is more likely for you, finish the boss level on some mega-difficult console game.  It’s not ok to do this every night.

Picture of someone at work red-eyed and wired on coffee saying “I’m going to require coffee, and lots of it!”

It’s great to get fit and eat healthily, but it’s bad if all you do is exercise and calorie count.  Equally it’s less than ideal to vegetate and eat cake all day (although obviously it’s a lot of bloody fun and should be done at least once in a while!)

If you spend your whole life earning money and networking to progress then you may well earn a lot of money, but you won’t have any time left over for living.  That’s where we get the phrase “spend your life” from; life, like money, is a commodity.

First Guy “Time is more important than money because you can always get more money but you can’t buy more time.” Second Guy: “You can ALWAYS get more money?!”

Unfortunately money also remains a commodity – you CAN’T always get more money, certainly not without giving up more time.  Ultimately, you have to find a balance with both time and money.  I think Goethe said it best:-

Quote: Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time. – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

You can work hard all your life and maybe retire on a good pension, or you can enjoy your life and maybe end your life destitute, but perhaps if you get the balance right you can instead have alternate periods of time and money that give you the balance you need.

Balance isn’t an easy thing to achieve though, but like anything, if you’re at least aiming to find it, you have a much better chance of getting there.

It’s Different For Girls

Growing up in the late 70s and 80s, there were only a very few exciting role models for girls if you didn’t aspire to be a superhero in hot-pants, or a Prime Minister with a swinging brick for a heart, hated throughout the land, but I digress… 

Luckily for me, I have always struggled to pick up on social cues, or miss them entirely, and because gender is mainly a social construct I failed to notice it’s existence.

Two girls with sticks - Kate “It’s a Fairy-wand!” Me “It’s a Light-Saber!” Dog: “It’s clearly a stick.”

It genuinely never occurred to me that I couldn’t grow up to be Indiana Jones or Magnum PI, …or B.A. Baracus, and I was going to grow up to be the hero, the tough guy, the main character in my own story.

Me as BA Baracus on the Titanic shouting “I’m the king of the world! Fool.”

The only female character I could ever really get on board with was Princess Leia, partly because she was smart, independent and could fight like the boys, but also because my Mum had that exact weird Danish-pastry hairstyle on her wedding photo and it was both familiar and comforting.

Black and white pic of my mum with Leia buns and a bouquet

As I got older, the social cues for how I “should” behave as a girl got stronger and stronger, to the point where even I couldn’t ignore them anymore.

Initially I was devastated, I had already mapped out my life as a private investigator, with a side-line in treasure-hunting, who would eventually see out my days as a lovable hobo – I couldn’t do any of that as some stupid girl.

Young me giving my hobo stick (ala Dick Whittington) to a hobo saying “You might as well have this, I’ll never get to use it apparently.”

As a teenager I started to grow boobs, great boobs, and with great boobs came great power, and not a lot of responsibility, and finally I got on board with being a girl. 

…Unfortunately, I was a little behind on actually being a girl and it took me a good few years to catch up on some important socially-constructed behaviour.

Kate: “Great boobs yes, but you’ll find them more effective if you shave your damn legs!” Me in tight dress with incredibly hairy legs considering this carefully.

Even after that it wasn’t a smooth ride because, on top of the personal grooming issues and behavioural expectations, I’d never really learnt how to talk to girls, all I knew was how to talk AT them – to this day I remain a proud and accomplished woman-splainer.

The power of my boobs has now diminished, or at least changed.  Don’t get me wrong they’re still a knock out, but in more of a physically capable of rendering a passer-by unconscious than impressing them kind of a way.

Short man lying unconscious with a black eye and stars circling his head - me apologising “Sorry I swung around too quickly and hit you with what was almost certainly the corner of my shopping bag...”

When I look back at my life so far I feel happy and proud to be a girl BUT I do wish I hadn’t let embracing being a girl distract me from realising that I was right first time round; there was no reason I couldn’t be Magnum PI.  

…Frankly, at this age, I don’t even have to rule out being able to achieve a Tom Selleck level moustache.

I look at the world now and I see fabulous role models for girls everywhere; amazing comedians, powerful pop divas, women in science, art, even politics, and to my utter delight actual female Ghostbusters AND Jedis. 

I’m not naïve enough to assume it’s a done deal, I’ve seen progress before following by a period of recession, but it makes me unbelievably happy to know that this generation of girls could grow up without the assumption that they have to be the sidekick in life.

My Guest Post For Pencils and Popcans!

Recently, Tanya Kuzmanovic, of the wonderful blog Pencils and Popcans, very kindly asked me to write a guest post.  

To view my guest post, titled How Not To Clean Your House click on the picture below:- 

A clean house is a sign of a wasted life!

I hope you enjoy it and please do check out Tanya’s brilliant blog and fabulous published essays whilst you are there!   

Mum being chased by a washing machine with a face and a large pile of washing up