Have you ever asked someone a question because you wanted to hear a specific answer? Though it can be dangerous in some situations, when I asked my grandmother how she and my grandfather lasted so many years together, I was hoping she would give me a bow-tied revelation.
Perhaps I wanted that answer because I am a hopeless romantic or maybe it was because my grandpa had passed away just days before and I was looking for any fleeting remedy I could cling to. But, as most answers to tough questions tend to be, her response was not hopeless, nor was it fleeting … it was a profound statement that I still carry close to my heart to this day: “When it comes to the one you love, you have to know when to push them and when to back off.”
“When it comes to the one you love, you have to know when to push them and when to back off.”
My grandmother, JoAnn, was a woman ahead of her time, and it showed in her later years through her wisdom and sage advice. After my grandpa passed, my grandmother was soon to follow … very similar to Johnny Cash and June Carter, and many older couples (so I hear). There’s a subtle comfort in the idea my grandma literally could not live without my grandpa, and that kind of love really does exist. After he left us, she said she could still feel him in the air. This was a side of my grandma, a soft side, I had never seen. I am glad I was able to witness it for a few months.
How wonderful it is that I was able to witness what I consider to be real love, through the words and actions of my grandparents while they transitioned to that next place. It brings me back to my grandma’s words on how to make a marriage or relationship last a lifetime: You have to know when to push them and when to back off. This can be applied to more than just relationships, it can be applied to how you approach your career, your next workout or even how you approach a relationship with yourself.
CAREER: PUSH YOURSELF TO BUDGET WISELY
I started with the trickiest one first — knowing when to push yourself and when to back off as it pertains to your career. It’s tricky because we live in a society where money is king; we need it to put food on the table and to pay rent. So me telling someone who has to work two jobs to support their household that they need to think more about their mental health, comes off as disingenuous. So I won’t spend too long on this segment, though a work-life balance is extremely important.
My biggest suggestion is to consider whether you really want another day to just be another dollar (as the adage goes). If you want more out of life, but you work a lot, it might simply mean budgeting wisely to make up for working less.
WORKOUTS: BE OPEN TO POSSIBILITIES
This concept, and article as a whole, has remnants of The Fine Art of Quitting While You’re Ahead. In it, I say, “It’s in ‘just one more mile’ when we sprain our ankle.” This is a great metaphor for practicing balance during your workouts. I hope your goal for working out is to be, overall, a healthier and happier person (unless you’re Aaron Rodgers, in which case, let’s train to win Super Bowl LIII).
It’s very easy to overdo working out because we have an attachment to a particular result. Usually, it’s something unrealistic … to look like that Instagram model or to fit into that pair of jeans. It’s entirely fine to have realistic goals for yourself. But where we often get ourselves into trouble is when we have an attachment to a particular result. A lot of the pain we feel in life comes from our attachment to one thing happening out of the infinite possibilities. Work out to be healthier and happier, not to be someone or something.
SELF-LOVE: LIVE OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
When I say “self-love,” nine times out of 10, people will give me the scrunch-nosed look that suggests I bumped into their comfortability wall. Most people go on about how much they love “Breaking Bad” or “The Wire,” or how much they love a nice glass of Jack Daniels after a long day at work or even how much they undeniably love the Yankees. But when it comes to talking about loving themselves, they shrink into a scrunch-nosed ball. There’s no balance there. There’s nothing wrong with a good TV show or a nice glass of whiskey, but my hope is you are just as comfortable with loving yourself and speaking on it as you are all those other, simpler things. I have found the things we have an aversion to are often dark areas within ourselves that need a little light and a little self-love.
FINDING A BALANCING ACT
From the surface, life seems like a game of money, power and fame. But when you get to the crux and heart of it, it’s really a balancing act between happiness, love and time (and so much more, but for brevity, let’s stick with those three). As my grandma softened in her last few months, I realized I shouldn’t have waited until the end to get to know her better. Remember that time waits on no man and tomorrow sure isn’t promised … so look past the surface and focus on the depth of your life, your balancing act of pushing and backing off.