It’s Already September [en]

Started writing 05.09.2023

Reading Mark’s recent post prompted me to open up WordPress and type something.

My stepmom Monique died two weeks ago. She had been my dad’s wife for the last 20+ years and a person I really cherished. It was sudden, although she had been ill for years, but stable. In the space of a week we went from “coming home from this hospital stay tomorrow” to “it’s the end”. Although I know there is no right or wrong way in grief, I do not feel like I’m dealing well. I do not want this new world without her.

I had recently found increased confidence and stability at work, after my holidays, constructive discussions with my boss that eased some of the pressure I was putting on myself, and some tweaks and adjustments to my self-organisation. I struggle all the more with accepting that I need to cut myself some slack. I’m taking the measure of how much I pressure myself to perform well – even though intellectually I do not feel like I’m giving in to it, emotionally it is still there.

Over the years, I’ve often dealt with grief by writing through it. But this grief is not just mine. I mean, I am not alone in having to deal with Monique’s death. And this makes things more complicated. I plan to post a written version of what I said at her ceremony at some point, however. But I feel stuck, in many ways,

So stuck I abandoned this post for a week. Picking it up again after stumbling on this post by Annette.

It’s Monday afternoon. Doctor’s orders, these last three weeks I’ve been partly off work. Though I struggle with accepting that, as mentioned above, I can feel it was (is) needed. I’m slowly starting to feel somewhat “normal” when it comes to dealing with daily life, and a bit of (easy) work.

But I don’t have any bumpers, extra bandwidth, suspension, or whatever other image might work to express that minor complications of life see me on the verge of “OMG I can’t deal with this”. I’ve not only lifted my foot of the gas regarding work, but regarding pretty much everything that requires an effort on my part, to give myself space to recover. I’m “OK”, but not my usual OK. My bike fell down this morning (clumsiness) and the onboard computer wasn’t working anymore when I put it in place. I didn’t melt down, but the idea of having to deal with bike repairs (maybe a day or so without my primary means of transport) filled me with dread and despair. Luckily it was “nothing” and a quick stop at the repair shop solved it. It’s just an example. Life is full of such “little-big problems”, and usually one groans and deals with it. In my case, today, I was happy I didn’t end up crying in front of my bike when it wouldn’t start up.

Back to grief. I’m past the “burst into tears at bad moments” days. But I’m still in this weird space where I’m living as if Monique’s death is a bad situation that is going to resolve itself. Like, it’s temporary. Of course I know death is very, very much not temporary, but I seem to have trouble truly convincing myself. I feel like I’m on hold, in some no-man’s-land between shock and a deluge of emotions I really don’t want to have to face. All this is bringing back a whole lot more than “just” my mother’s death, which is the obvious parallel to draw. Details maybe some other time, or not. We’ll see how I process all this.

So, here are a few things I could be writing about but don’t really have the energy for right now. If you’re curious, ask me, and it might give me the impulse to continue, who knows. I could write about the two-week hypnotherapy introduction course I took this summer, and what a life-changing experience it was. I could write about how much time I’m spending at the chalet, and all the hikes I’ve been on, including a recent via ferrata. I could write about being back on track with judo, losing 10kg last year (on purpose) and how happy my (otherwise unhappy) knees are about it. I could write about singing, about making difficult but much-needed decisions, about using Asana, about balancing the need to follow impulses and stick with the programme, about the new boat and taking it out alone for the first time today, about Oscar and managing a support community for diabetic cats, about navigating a multilingual work environment which sends me back to topics I spent a lot of time thinking about back in 2007-8, when I did what I call (in my personal biography) my “Babel Fish Conference Tour”, I could share some poetry and write some more, or write about trying to get a coworking space back off the ground in 2023 while working in another city, even tell you more about how I’m making sense of the story of my life right now (thanks As’trame).

I feel bad about not writing about all this. Frustrated, because I like writing, and sharing, but also guilty-bad because in a complicated way it also has to do with all these things I feel I have to “do for others”. Because I’m good at them. And, again in a complicated way I might try to explain someday, but that maybe some of you will understand immediately, it has to do with the meaning of life. The meaning of my life. And of life in general. Especially when the biological “meaning” of life (to perpetuate itself) is absent from yours.

So here we are, early September coloured by death and multilayered sadness and pain and fear, from the simple grief of having lost somebody I loved to the meaning of life, sitting on my balcony with my cat, trying to keep pressure and others out of the equation of my life for a little moment more.

I’m off to judo.

“I Will Adapt” [en]

A few years ago (don’t ask me exactly when), I started watching Star Trek as my “goodnight” TV series. I chose it because it was entertaining enough but not so fascinating that I would stay up watching episode after episode. Well, that worked out pretty well for TOS and the early seasons of TNG, and completely broke down with DS9 (do watch, if you haven’t yet). But still, by that time, I’d gotten better at “just saying no” to “just another episode”. I’m currently making my way through Voyager and am hugely enjoying the developing character of Seven of Nine.

Hence the title for this blog post: “I will adapt”, which I have heard her say many times these last days.

What will I adapt to?

For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a hold on my future, instead of being swept this way and that by the whims of life. Two major life changes explain this:

  • ADHD diagnosis and treatment – seriously, this is like finally getting admin rights to the operating system my life
  • a stable (employed) job for the foreseeable future – something I haven’t had in a very long time, between self-employment, short-term “this’ll do for the time being” positions, and unemployment.

I’ll probably get more into this in a future post, but one of the effects of ADHD for me is that I was caught in a “permanent present”, slave to immediate gratification and impulses. I definitely harnessed this way of functioning to make the most of it. I built a 10+ year freelance career out of it, a huge network, knowledge, expertise and skills in all sorts of fields, and more. I have been (am) an expert at seizing the opportunities that present themselves. Having a long-term objective and doing things to reach it was, however, pretty much impossible. Short-term planning, yes. Project management, yes – because I have to “project manage” pretty much everything I want to do. So my career went where the winds took me, and my personal life and ambitions lacked a sense of direction – though I always did know what I found interesting and what I didn’t.

This means that now, concretely, I am in a situation where not only do I have a pretty clear vision of what available time I have “for myself”, but making plans for these moments is a lot less daunting. I have 5 weeks of holidays this year: I’ve put them down in the calendar, and thinking about what I want to do/where I want to go for each of them does not fill me with dread. This kind of exercise used to.

I have week-ends, too, and the ability to make plans for them. This week-end I’m at the chalet. Next week-end I’ve saved a day for a hike. I write these things down in my calendar and I follow through, with way less effort than it used to take.

That is the positive change I’m adapting to. Being able to make plans. Even for next year! I’ve been wanting to go to Thailand for a long time, and now, between the job stability and my new-found ability to project myself in future activities, I can say things like “hmm, in 2024 I’m going to use two of my vacation weeks to go to Thailand”. For example.

The more difficult changes I’m adapting to is how “little” time I have outside of work. One of the aspects of my hyperactivity is that I am never short of ideas, projects, people to see or new things to discover. Previously, I had more available time, but my ability to actually use that time for things I wanted was impaired. Now, I am able to be much more productive with the time I have, but… there are a few buts.

First, I’m working four days a week, and work does tire me (surprise). So, I need to rest (another surprise). I have evening activities (judo, singing) 3-4 days a week. Does that already sound like a lot? I’m just getting started…

Basically, my “new life” is very clearly confronting me to the fact that I have to make choices and that I cannot do everything I would like to do. This is life, it isn’t news, of course, but for me, in my “old life”, this wasn’t so much of an issue. In a weird way, because I was pretty much always stuck taking what was in front of me, I didn’t have a clear view of how unrealistic my aspirations were. I was always failing, but also always doing-or-trying-to-do, and on the forefront was a state of constant frustration and overwhelm that I wasn’t managing to do where I really wanted. I was, generally, quite unhappy.

So, now I can see clearly: if I’m doing judo and singing four nights a week, and managing a very busy support community on Facebook, and trying to go to the chalet and ski in winter, hike and take the boat out in summer, in addition to working 80%, managing my household and admin obligations, and getting the rest I need… that doesn’t leave much time for keeping up with people I’m not otherwise seeing through shared activities.

RIP my social life.

This really sucks. I’ve always had a huge social life, lots of friends, and already before, too many lovely people I want to keep in touch with on a regular basis. But now it’s worse on a whole different level. I already struggle to keep to seeing my family from time to time.  But I have to accept that with the choices I’ve made and priorities I’ve set, I have less time to socialise and maintain friendships, less time to “hang out”, less time to dive into new exciting projects, less time for the unexpected.

I will adapt.

Life as an individual has its challenges, but despite all, it definitely beats being a Borg drone.

The Speed of Time [en]

[fr] Réflexion sur le temps au travail et le temps à la maison, les chats malades et l'hiver.

Routine is settling in. As I have mentioned, my time seems to be shrinking. Or speeding up. It’s a good sign when time flies by, but it scares me. I look at my colleagues, some of whom have been in the same position, doing pretty much the same job, for decades — and try to imagine waking up ten years from now, getting up at the same time in the morning, going to the same place, doing the same thing with the same people. This is the life of many, but there’s something scary about it for me.

A year has passed since Tounsi started being ill. It was early November. He had his MRI early December. He died January 1st. It still feels very recent. His ashes are still in a little box in my bookcase — I haven’t felt ready to spread them in the garden yet. I think I should just do it.

Quintus hasn’t been well lately. I took him for a checkup before starting my new job. He has pancreatitis, and developed diabetes as a result. He’s on insulin now (it’s been 10 days) and we are hoping to get the pancreatits under control. He’s been improving, slowly, with a bit of back and forth. But I have to face things: he’s an old cat, going on 17, and we’re lucky he’s still around. I treasure every extra week I get with him, and hope it will be months. But there are no certainties.

And so I face another winter with the prospect of possibly losing a cat. Bagha died just before Christmas, too. I don’t believe in magic, so I’m not scared winter is “more dangerous” for my cats than any other time of the year. But it does mean that I have had some difficult winters — including the one following my mother’s death when I was a child.

My preoccupation with Quintus makes me feel my hours away from home with a particular awareness. My days at work don’t feel long, but my time at home feels short. A week is a handful of waking hours. I’ve become somebody who doesn’t want to spend any more time away from home than absolutely necessary.

My professional ambition right now is a job that allows me to come back home for lunch. That would be just wonderful.


Routine and Freedom [en]

[fr] La liberté, et la routine. Trop de liberté ne rend pas forcément plus heureux. Et si la liberté c'était de pouvoir choisir ses contraintes? Retour sur mon histoire avec la liberté et les habitudes.

Kites @ KepongPhoto credit: Phalinn Ooi

I think about routine a lot. I spent a lot of time when I was at university trying to be free. I was quite free, actually. Habits and routine are something we can get stuck in and that might shield us from seeing things we need to see — but I naturally gravitate to the other end of the spectrum, the introspective one, the one who thinks too much, wonders too much, asks herself too many questions. It was clear to me, already back then, that routine/habits had their use: they allowed us to lighten the load of thinking and deciding when it comes to our lives.

I spent ten years at university. Ten. Being a student. Three years studying chemistry (and finally failing), and seven years in what we call “Lettres”, studying History of Religions, Philosophy, and French. One of those years was spent in India. I then spent a lot of time not writing my dissertation. All in all, I spent many years with very long holidays and a very do-it-yourself schedule. It was a good time of my life. It was difficult to see it end.

Is freedom so important to me because of this slice of life, or did I hang out in that context so long because of how important it is to me?

Over the years, I’ve realised that “too much freedom” in the way I live my days does not make me happy. By that I mean complete lack of routine. Was it the first or second summer I was living alone in my first flat? A friend had used the kite metaphor: when you’re free, you let the string out and the kite can fly far, far up high. And I had let my kites go out a bit too far. University resumed, I drew my kites in.

In 2009, it felt like I had got my shit together. My life felt “under control”, in a good way. I wasn’t scrambling after things. If I remember correctly I was even doing my accounting regularly (that’s saying something). And I remember that during that year, I had a pretty solid morning routine. I actually would set my alarm clock. I would wake up at 7:30, and at 9:00 I would be at eclau to work, having pedalled on my stationary bicycle for a good half-hour.

Then 2010 happened. During my catless year, in 2011, I travelled way too much. I made up for all the previous years of no holidays. 2012 was chaotic. All that to say I never got back to where I was in 2009. Briefly, yes. But not consistently. And I know very well how important it is for me to have routines and good habits, so it’s something that’s often top of my mind. But I find myself coming short.

Things might be changing right now. This morning I wrote my first Morning Pages. (Loïc’s fault for mentioning them.) Last week, I got confirmation that Quintus is pretty much completely blind, and so I’ve been actively thinking about how to stabilise his environment — space and time. Quintus is a very routine-oriented cat. All cats are, to some degree, of course.

Blind Quintus Taking a Stroll

So between Morning Pages, cat-related routine, no money to travel (keeps me at home!) and wanting to get back on track when it comes to physical exercise (judo injury in March and slightly expanding waistline that doesn’t fit into favorite winter trousers anymore), the time seems ripe.

I’ve also been wondering recently if I’m not sleeping too much. One of my precious freedoms is not setting an alarm clock in the morning: I sleep as much as I want/need. But I still feel tired. So I think I’ll go with the 7:30 alarm for a bit and see if it changes anything. I’ll report back.

On another note, I sometimes feel like I spent a huge amount of my time in the kitchen dealing with food. I like cooking, and I like eating. But maybe I should limit the number of times I actually cook during the day. I eat a “normal meal” at breakfast, so I sometimes end up cooking three proper meals a day. I should probably reheat or throw something quickly together for morning and lunch, and just cook in the evening.

The biggest freedom might be the freedom to determine your own constraints.

Thinking Too Much [en]

[fr] J'ai un peu tendance à penser trop, et à ne pas vivre assez. Aujourd'hui, avec le côté un peu compulsif de la consommation d'infos en ligne (hello, Facebook!) je crois que je suis retombée dans ce piège.

At some point during my young life, in my mid twenties, it dawned on me that I was thinking too much for the amount of life I had racked up until then. Barely post-adolescent brains will go a bit overboard, of course, but this has happened to me a couple of times since. In my mid-thirties, for example: I had spent a lot of energy trying to figure out the world, people, relationships, myself, life, death and the like. I did study philosophy and history of religions, after all.


Today, I’m wondering if I’m not thinking too much — again. But it’s taking a different shape. Although I’ve long been skeptical about all the alarm bells ringing about information overload, I have come to believe that there is something to say about our access to, and relationship with, all the information now at the tip of our fingers. And it’s clear to me that there is something compulsive in the way I go after information.

This was the case for me before the internet. I’ve always been an avid reader. I’ve always loved understanding things. I collected stamps. Then fonts, and even AD&D spells (don’t laugh). At university, I loved immersing myself in a topic, surrounded with piles of books and articles, going through them for hours and seeing a big muddled mess of ideas start to make sense. So, imagine when the internet came along. As far as my academic life goes, that was largely when I was working on my dissertation.

My compulsive search for information has served my life well when I have managed to harness it for concrete projects (write a dissertation; publish a blog post; gain expertise). I even wondered if there was a way to use it to earn money some way. But today, I feel it is leading me around in circles on Facebook, mainly. There is so much interesting stuff to read out there. I still want to understand the world, people, life, love, politics, beliefs, education, relationships, society… And I will never be done. But the internet allows me to not stop.

My tendency to “think too much, live not enough” has found an ally in the  compulsive consumption of online media.

Time to think less, and accept I can’t figure everything out.

A Few Notes on 2014 [en]

[fr] 2014, une longue année en très résumé.

It seems like 2014 was a long year, although it also feels like it’s ended barely after it started. Oh well. There is much to write, but here’s a little catch-up dump for those of you who aren’t stalking me on Facebook or seeing me offline.

Météo variable pour mes 40 ans 21

Over the summer I turned 40, and it’s been a much bigger “thing” that I’d envisioned. I will write more about this too, but the TL;DR is that being a childless and single 40-year-old woman when it’s not exactly what you wanted for yourself isn’t a piece of cake. Added bonus if your mother died precisely at that age, just 30 years ago. This accounts for a good part of 2014 being a “difficult” year.

Other than that, 2014 was physically very active. I skied, my first complete ski season in more years than I care to think of. I started kitesurfing, went sailing of course, and received a Fitbit One for my birthday. The Fitbit made me realise how little I was walking (5-6k steps for a “normal” day), and so when somebody told me about this game called Ingress that made you walk, I pounced on it. Now I’m hooked (much much more about Ingress in future posts) and days where I clock 15k steps are far from rare. Let’s not forgot regular judo training during the time I wasn’t moving around too much. I’m also still doing Body By You on and off. The result is that I feel in better shape physically than I have for years.

Professionally, I spent most of the year working on a lovely gig for Phonak as the editor of their community blog, Open Ears — an ongoing project. Eclau, “my” coworking space, is doing fine, and I’ve been teaching a bit at CREADIGITAL in Geneva.

The cats are living their cat lives, though they did provide me both with major health scares. Quintus now has a 1500CHF eye (it’s his eye, it just cost that much to save it) and Tounsi will be under close surveillance the last week of July next summer (there was a somewhat similar scare last summer at nearly exactly the same date). I helped a friend fix up her house for sale in the UK over part of the summer, and around that period also had a friend visiting from India. For a couple of months there I was really running around a lot, and it took me some time to settle down after that. I decided to not go to India over the winter as I had planned initially, but to stay here and go skiing again.

I got a Kindle and have been reading avidly thanks to it. I play around with Calibre. In the same dematerialisation move, I have an XBMC server (now renamed Kodi) and I have started making space in my cellar for all the CDs, DVDs, and some of the books which are taking up so much space in my flat. Oh, and I’ve been learning to fly my tiny quadcopter.

Most of my online activity has gravitated around Facebook, clearly my sharing, publishing, and communication central this year. I am wary of putting all my eggs in the same basket, though, and it bothers me more and more that all the links and quotes I share end up going down the real-time drain. I started using Google+ more over the last months. Twitter is a bit on the back-burner, so is Path. I use Google Drive and associated docs daily. I discovered Slack and enthusiastically fell in love with it.

Finally, 2014 has been the first year since… 1999 that I have not been writing regularly online (let’s not count Facebook interaction as “writing”, shall we? that’s really conversation). And I feel a bit like a pressure-cooker that’s been on the stove for too long.

The Simple Life [en]

I’ve been at the chalet since December 29th. I like it here. I’ve been “down” 5 times: once to see a new client in Zurich (more about that in the weeks to come), once to bring a car back to Lausanne, once to get my nails done, once to get an MRI done (wrist, nothing too bad), and once for a foundation board meeting.

Chalet et Grand Muveran

My life is simple here. Few possessions, few activities, few people, few responsibilities. The Paradox of Choice in reverse. As I’ve often noticed in the past, freedom is in fact in all that you can’t do.

That’s why people go away on holidays. There’s stuff to do on vacation, of course, but there is so much more from the daily grind that you can’t do.

Here I eat, take care of the cats, go skiing, buy food, fool around on the computer with my slow 3G connection (when I’m lucky, otherwise it’s Edge, or nothing), do some work, sleep.

But this state does not last. I’m already starting to make connections here. I’m starting to know people. I go to the café in the village which has great chocolate cake and wifi. I’ve been through this when I lived in India: within a few months, I’d reconstructed for myself a life full of things to do, of people, of meetings, and activities. That’s how I am — I cannot remain a hermit for very long.

At the end of the week I’m going back to my city life. I’ll miss how easy it is here to talk to people. I’m not from here, but I feel like I fit in. I like the outdoors. I like my clothes comfortable and practical before pretty. I don’t need a huge variety of restaurants, shops, night-clubs, or theatres to make me happy.

I know I’ve already mentioned it, but my life slows down when I come here. Even with an internet connection. I try to bring this slowness back into my life in Lausanne, but it’s difficult. Specially as things will be a rush next week: I’m hosting a WordPress meetup workshop on Tuesday evening, then there is Lift, then I have a friend visiting, then I’m coming back up here 🙂 for a few days. The week after that will see me back in Zurich…

As I write this, maybe what I get here (or elsewhere on holiday) that is hard to get in Lausanne is long stretches of time with no outside commitments. No meetings, no appointments, no travel. Just weeks ahead with nothing else to do but live and ski.

Here We Go Again [en]

[fr] Des nouvelles.

Holidays in Spain. Two weeks of crazy work upon my return. Then orphaned kittens at home.

Things are lightening up: the kittens are weaned and clean, the big cats are taking care of them, and they have future homes. Though I have two batches of exams to grade (one now, one early june) my work life is taking a more manageable pace.

I’ve been the worst slacker in the Blogging Tribe experiment. I have a huge backlog of insanely cute kitten photos and videos to process and put online. I’ve started planting things for my balcony again. The sailing season has started.

Next week’s objectives: go back to judo, get back into something resembling a blogging habit, and start my new exercice regimen.

Longer term? Figure out why despite having identified long ago that I take on too much and need to slow down, and making efforts in that direction, I am failing.

Life is good.

How Was 2012 So Far? [en]

[fr] 2012, année chaotique, mais qui se termine avec un retour vers la stabilité. 2013 s'annonce plutôt bien.

A conversation last night had me thinking back about the last few years. This morning, I stumbled upon this post that I wrote end 2009.

2009 was a good year. I felt like I was getting my act together. Everything came crumbling down in 2010, my “shit year“, and 2011 was largely a year of grieving. Healthy grieving, I’d like to add. Not easy to go through, but a hugely empowering life experience.

What about 2012? Well, it’s not quite finished, though I have two weeks of Lausanne life to go before heading off to India for my annual vacation. So I might as well look back now.

2012 has been chaotic. It’s been a year of changes and uncertainty, both personal and professional. You know how at times you feel like your life or a relationship has not reached its point of equilibrium? That it’s in flux, going somewhere, but not there yet? That’s what 2012 has felt like. On a very practical day-to-day level (the most important one, actually!) I adopted two cats, lost one two months later, and brought another one back from the UK just about a month and a half after that. It may seem like nothing, but for somebody who sometimes finds day-to-day life a bit of a challenge, it was quite a disruption in my life, and whatever was left of the routines and habits I’d formed the previous years kind of flew out the window. To give just one example, I climbed back on my exercise bike for what is possibly the first time in 2012… yesterday.

Tounsi & Quintus à l'eclau, proximité 3

In addition to that 2012 came with its lot of work changes and uncertainty: the end of a long-standing gig, two other important sources of work and revenue left hanging for quite a few months, growing dissatisfaction with the social media industry and figuring out where I want to go these next years…

All this shuffling around was taking me somewhere, and I think that with the year wrapping up, I’m pretty much there. Things are stabilizing. (Proof if needed: In addition to climbing back on my bike, I cleaned the dust webs off my ceiling again this week-end, something I’d been doing regularly in 2009 but that disappeared sometime between now and then.)

2013 is looking good — and exciting.

A Balanced Life Has Change and Instability Built In [en]

[fr] Quelques réflexions sur l'équilibre de vie -- et le fait que celui-ci est en fait un perpétuel déséquilibre, qui doit pouvoir absorber le changement.

I want a balanced life.

When I stop and think about what I want in life, that’s the best answer I can come up with: I want a balanced life.

I’m not an extremist. I want time for work and time for play, futility and depth, travel and stability, arts and science, me and others, and space for my wide variety of interests.

Many years ago, one of my philosophy courses made me suddenly understand that imbalance is what makes life alive. The very chemical reactions which form the basis of life are oscillating reactions, which go back and forth around equilibrium, permanently out of balance, but stable enough to allow us to live and breathe long years.

There is a risk of getting caught up in words, here. Stable, balance, unstable, imbalance.

During my physics classes in high school (what we call “Gymnase”), I learned that there was stable and unstable equilibrium. An object is in stable equilibrium if it is hanging from somewhere. If you make it move, it will come back to its equilibrium point. Unstable equilibrium, on the other hand, is when the centre of gravity is above the support base. Push it over, and it may fall and never come back to where it was. It’s unstable.

This struck me as counter-intuitive. When I first read about the two terms, I thought it would be the other way around. A lamp hanging from the ceiling seemed less stable than a table on the kitchen floor. There was a slight discomfort in the realization that what I considered most stable was in fact labeled by physics as “unstable”.

Me sitting on the couch: that’s unstable equilibrium. I feel pretty stable, though.

Walking: a body which is losing its balance every step of the way.

I’ve written more than a handful of articles that have to do with my quest for balance or related topics. Here are a few I dug up, but you can probably find more if you hunt around:

So for balance, you have to factor in instability. A balanced life is not a rigid regimen of balanced components. A balanced life is elastic, ever-moving, a harmonious danse of spare parts. A chaotic system, probably.

Balance, probably, is an ability to manage change. Interesting idea, for someone with a slight adjustment disorder.

A balanced life is a life that can absorb external elements without being turned upside down. This reminds me of something that’s sometimes said of Indian culture: it’s inclusive, it absorbs rather than rejecting.

So, my balanced life needs resilience. And it will never be really in balance — forever trying to reach it.