question: what’s the deal with your divided life?”

Every now and then I answer a question from a reader that I figure best to answer en masse…here’s one that struck me recently:

It’s come up a few times in comments on this blog. What’s the deal with my two speeds – my heels/red carpet/hair extensions/smile-for-cameras existence, and my live-in-the-hills/simple/non-shopping/biking/no makeup life? How do I do it? Does it tear me?

Picture 10 question: what's the deal with your divided life?"via 79ideas

It seems to confound a few people. Or suggest to some that I’m inconsistent.

Normally I don’t feel obliged to explain myself (should we ever if we’re not harming anyone?), but I have put some thought to the issue lately.

I think many of us have two speeds. Our busy, crazy self and then the self we try to come home to with friends and family and with ourselves.

I think many of us feel that somehow we need to be marrying the two. Uniting them. Or finding a middle ground between. We call this balance. We seek it.

I ask, though, is balance about finding a middle?

Or can balance be about dancing between the two, or three, or four aspects of ourselves? Can we not be all the things, authentically?

BUT, cry some, that’s fine if your values are consistent across the selves. I agree. And this part of the dance isn’t always easy.

I have struggled with this. For instance. I bang on about getting rid of toxic cosmetics from my life. But then there I am dolled up with half a tin of hairspray on my head in the various press pics. How does this sit with me, you ask (well, some of you do)?

These days, just fine, thanks. I accept we can only ever do our best. And I can’t do much about the dictates of my job (not immediately, anyway). So I make the changes where I can. I live in the trees on my own. And then pop down to Sydney to appear at red carpet events. This, too, is fine with me. The former allows me to do the latter. And vice versa, actually.

At this point, I defer to Walt Whitman:

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am vast, I contain multitudes.”

Yes, I contradict myself. But I’m vast. And I don’t really think finding a middle ground, or a commonality, is doing my different interests and speeds and passions justice.

Does this make me inauthentic or unreliable or a fraud? Hmmmm….maybe at times, in the toggling back and forth, my values can get a little confused. Or they can lag as I adjust.

BUT…this is a good thing. Because every time this happens, I’m forced to ask myself, “what are my true values again?”, “what counts?”, “what do I want to hang on to at both speeds?”.

I have to do this a bit. I seek quietness, but then my Twitter addiction can creep up and compromise things. When this happens, I regroup, refocus. And pull back from social media for a while until things feel right. I’ve learned through the double dance to work out what jobs matter to me. I don’t get too hoity about things…I now focus on great relationships and dealing with people who are a joy.

We can live divided lives. And we can use the division to be doubly real. And use the dance back and forth as a motivator to be grounded and authentic as often as possible.

Do you find the same dilemma? Do you give yourself a hard time for having two speeds? Do friends or peers?


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