Living the &

I’ve been listening to a series of podcasts that talk about balance. Even worse, the term “perfect balance” was used multiple times.   I struggled with why I was finding the podcasts hard to connect with and then realized that it’s the words – Perfect and Balance.


I am a perfectionist and trying hard to let that go. I am trying to appreciate the engagement in an activity without the need to have mastery (perfection). I am trying to accept “good enough” and not be afraid to try new things (fear of not being perfect). The word perfect has become a pariah-word for me! I realized that I no longer want perfection. I was a perfectionist.


For me the word Balance is an “OR”. For years, it was all about Work/Life Balance and I could never figure it out. It was all work; there was not any life.  I had to learn that Balance for me is a seesaw – it’s either one side up or the other. I needed to completely leave work to find a life.  

The &

I am coming to realize that better term for my life is AND. The “&”.

This realization came with a chuckle.   I’ve never talked a lot about my work life here on the blog, but for years I was a lead product designer on the Head & Shoulders global hair care brand. This brand has the “&” and we tried hard to communicate both the hair and scalp benefits (in some regions more successfully than others).  I “lived the &” designing on that brand.

Like balance, an “&” can reflect opposites, and often is perceived as a choice between two things. Take care of your hair and clean your scalp? Tastes great & less filling? Masculine power & feminine nurturing?  But often we want both things. Not one or the other. Not a half of each. Both.

I am trying to live a life of opposites! Not a balance between the two (which for me means one OR the other), but both, an &.

My life of &.

  • Being & Doing – Being Un-busy & Checklists of Action Plans
  • Structure & Spontaneity – A daily routine & the flexibility to throw it all out
  • Quiet Contemplative Reflection & New Connecting Activities

No, my life is not a “Perfect Balance”. It’s an Engaging &.

Have you found any common words that make you cringe?


Picture Credit: Another Sunrise – this photo by hubby

34 thoughts on “Living the &

  1. I love the & concept you’ve described. I’m feeling the result of a life with no balance right now and it isn’t good. I don’t think I have ever been one to handle too much of any one thing. I can only take it for so long. And I think the pairing of opposites is what gives that balance or at least keeps you invigorated.

    I’ve always hated the term “best practices”. It made me feel that we weren’t capable of making business decisions on our own and had to copy others in order to be successful. It rarely worked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had to laugh at the “best practices”. I found that if people only followed the “best practice” without understanding the “why”, it was worse than understanding the why and not following the best practice. I was always one who wanted to know the why and not follow the best practice.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think there is such a thing as perfect balance in life, Pat. I enjoyed reading about your previous working life. For me, I’ve struggled with retirement and finding ‘balance’. Maybe balance doesn’t exist but we find our own comfort level and acceptance. I always find little gems of wisdom when I read your posts, Pat so thank you for being part of the #MLSTL community. Have a lovely week. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Perfect balance? Maybe for a brief period life may feel that way, but something always happens. Plus trying to maintain such a thing is way too much work for me. A little turmoil keeps me on my toes and keeps me on my knees. A word that currently makes me cringe is “rigor”. A county wide term in our district in regards to the education climate that is being abused to the max.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t it interesting how some terms just start to be over-used also? And with the over-use, sometimes used incorrectly or lose their real meaning. I recall using the term ‘rigor’ at work, but it never became an abused word. Sad that it is in relationship to education!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love that thought Pat – you certainly encompass a very wide range in how you tackle life and I can see that you’ve been trying to figure out how to get the balance right. Not having to choose between the things you love, but just enjoying them in a way that makes you happy sounds pretty “perfect” to me – and you can pave the way for the rest of us who are trying to figure it all out!
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, I am so grateful that i don’t have to choose between some of these things… I can have a feeling of being un-busy and still have check-lists. I can plan an afternoon of napping in the sun. I can feel a sense of accomplishment for reading a series of blogs and commenting on them (and not view that as wasted time). I’m feeling extremely content with where my life is – living the “Engaging &”!


  5. What an interesting post Pat, that elusive & can make all the difference to our lives. I’m fascinated by your work and can imagine you have a lot of design stories to tell. I’m not feeling comfortable at the moment and need to work on things….#mlstl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, I’ve often wondered if I should write out my work stories into another book, but have never taken the plunge to try that. Maybe…

      Hope what you need to work on to feel comfortable comes easy. We are all working on things, aren’t we. I constantly call myself a work-in-progress.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Letting go and just being has been a huge learning curve for me. I am getting better at it…. having a couple of friends who are good at it helps. It’s an awareness that a “good day” can be a morning of journaling & yoga, an afternoon of blog reading, and an evening going to book club. I need to accept that some days, I don’t need to be productive or accomplish anything!


  6. I have been following you for awhile and your writing seems to come fom my mind–please keep blogging about your journey as your writing is what I’m thinking!!! Thank You!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy, thanks for joining in the conversation and for your kind words! It’s heart-warming to me when someone says”me-too” to my rambles and life challenges. I feel a sense of belonging (one of my huge personal needs).


  7. Hi Pat, I am a fan of podcasts when I commute. I find I always learn something new or gain a new perspective. I heard a phrase recently that resonated with me, ‘paralyzing perfection.’ Your work sounds like it would have had its pros and cons, like many careers. Very thought-provoking on how an & can reflect opposites. The first thing that comes to mind as a cringe “110%” such as 110% effort. I am sure I will think of other phrases during the middle of the night. A great post! #MLSTL and sharing SM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL… I always cringed at the 110% effort as well. Please do share if you think of others… just so I am sure I never use them in a blog post. I’m finding I still use my work jargon in my real life… it was so embedded in my vocabulary, and my husband even learned what I meant. Learning what folks cringe at will help me see it in my own usage.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The series used perfect in lots of ways that made me cringe – perfect balance, perfect health. And sometime I even struggle with the idea of “balance in my life”, maybe because for years I was unsuccessful at it. Hmm, maybe I need to release the cringe I feel on the word balance and embrace it as others see/feel it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I read the first line of your post and thought “Podcasts about balance exercises. Great – I love podcasts and improving balance, core strength and flexibility is part of my vision for 2020.” Guess our thoughts were going in different directions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz, I think I’d enjoy that kind of balance conversation much more. Yoga is where I work on improving all three of those – balance, core strength, and flexibility. And there is certainly not “perfect balance” there.


  9. What an oxymoron “Perfect Balance” is!! I agree with Deb. I hate common words converted to buzz terms and used in pitching concepts by people who don’t have to execute them. My least favorite….”Best in Class.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, but Tracey… I love oxymoron terms. I wrote about my life being Organized Chaos just recently.

      I’m listening to a podcast series right now, and started thinking I should be doing “buzz-word bingo”. Not sure if you ever did… but we played it years ago in boring management meetings – bingo cards and all. Right now, this podcast has all the “wellbeing” buzzwords and phrases. And sometimes I don’t think the sentences make sense!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Not so much a common word that makes me cringe, but what used to annoy me was salespeople coming into my lab to see me and using too much business jargon. One young lad in particular was throwing around words like “granular”. I’m a scientist. Granular is a word to describe the physical properties of a chemical. I couldn’t see what it had to do with our conversation. I felt like going all Princess Bride on this guy. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”


    Liked by 2 people

      1. Every place of business has its corporate culture and the language that goes with it. I tried very hard to use plain English when speaking with lab visitors so they could understand me better. When people use too much jargon with outsiders I think 2 things – they aren’t aware of their rudeness OR (likely the case with my sales guy) they are insecure and throwing out the big words to try to gain an advantage.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Perfect balance could never exist! It would be exhausting to keep it going and defeat the purpose! I think life has to swing back and forth sometimes, to different levels of involvement, sometimes one thing even overtakes all else for a bit and that’s fine!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been trying to come to terms with the swinging back and forth of my life’s elements. Trying to feel comfortable with letting something go for a while… like not putting a blog post out last week, or a weekend of no planned activities. The swing of that see-saw is still a challenge for me! Thanks for joining in the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

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