The Great Balancing Act

Earlier this month, I heard that one of my friends has stage 4 breast cancer. She is my age, full of life, fit as you could ever want to be, and lives an adventuresome life with her little family.

  • For two days my mind was in a bit of a fog due to the shock.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like to struggle through her new reality.

Last time I saw her, which was only a few months ago, she was fine. Or so it seemed to me. We talked about life, work, trying to make your way in the world with art and your own business, traveling, fitness adventures, and the joys and stresses of family life. Our biggest concerns revolved around things which just sound silly now.

Witty as ever, she made me laugh until my stomach hurt and when the coffee was gone and when it was time to leave, my spirits were higher than when I arrived.

This kind of horrible news is always a shock and despite our efforts to avoid the terrible things in life, they still have a way of finding us now and again.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear news like this, I simply want to abandon all responsibility and just LIVE – whatever that means.


The real problem with life is, you don’t have an expiry date stamped on your arse so you don’t know when you’re going to go. And nothing about life is equal or fair, so guessing about these things is a complete waste of time.

Enter the great balancing act.

You have to go to work, pay the bills, eat your vegetables, workout and train, get enough sleep, and do all the boring, mundane things that ensure you are healthy and are taking care of yourself. And yet, there are the days when you must throw caution to the wind and do ridiculous things, stay up late, celebrate, get on the airplane bound for somewhere tropical with only three days notice, and drink deeply from the well of life.

  • In the end, it comes down to the fact that you can’t do everything and you need to choose. Choose what it means to live a good life NOW. Every single day.

Waiting for the good life to start means you’re going to find yourself sitting at the window, looking out at the world, wondering how to get through the glass when all you need to do is move away from the window, put on your shoes, and walk out the front door to start your journey.

Your only job is to do you, and do it well.


Living a good life every single day means being fully present where you are at, not apologizing for saying no to people and opportunities that come your way, and saying YES to love, adventure, discipline, and the people you want to share your life with.

Be where you are and give 100% of yourself to your day, work, and the people you choose to let into your life.

  • If you are with someone, love them well – Give them your whole heart and request the same back from them.
  • Do your best at work – Show up, work hard and act like you’re being graded on what you do or don’t do, because you are. Hard work results in opportunity, money in your pocket, and accomplishment.
  • Buy less things – Spend your money and time on experiences, being with the people you love, and seeing the world, not working to accumulate things you need to pay someone else to clean.
  • Push your body hard, sweat a lot – Go to the gym and train hard, find your running shoes, clip into your bike pedals, hike the mountain, dust off the skis – simply move move a whole lot and push your body past what you thought it couldn’t do; you will be surprised at what you can do and who you meet along the way of doing it!
  • Let yourself enjoy the things you love – Embrace your inner nerd and don’t give another thought as to what other people think about you and your weird hobby and passions.
  • Get up to see the sunrise – There is nothing quite like welcoming the day as the sun starts to light up the sky. Some days are glorious artistic displays of colour and other days simply go from dark to light, but each and every day deserves a grateful welcome with a cup of coffee in hand.
  • Spend more time outside – Even if you are as pale as I am, buy the 6-pack of 80 block at Costco and get on with enjoying the great outdoors. Even in the winter, take time to enjoy the feel of the sun on your face, however cold it may be.
  • Say thank you – Finding your way to gratitude isn’t an easy task, but it is worth doing. Learning to find the gift in the mess and thanking your teachers who have come through your life, whatever form they have come in, is worth doing because when you can say ‘thank you’ you also have found peace.
  • Dream big dreams – Cultivate your dreams and go after them in small ways every day. Chase down a big, hairy, audacious goal or twelve and risk failure. Life is not safe, so don’t make your life about avoiding failure; embrace it.

Living each day like its your last balanced with responsibility is not easy, but it does bring a certain richness to life. Having the question, “What if this is my last ______?” in the back of your head as you go about your day changes what you give to those around you and your work.

Polarizing what you do and who you do it with isn’t a bad thing. The gift of clarity in a very grey world is something most people don’t have.


Life is going to happen; the good, the wonderful, the bad, and the terrible – how you go through the seasons is up to you.

In fact, it is the only thing that is up to you.

Practice living an amazing life, even in the little ways, every single day because in the end, your practice becomes your way of being and creates your memories and shared adventures. And when the terrible comes, as it will for each of us now and again, you will find yourself doing surprisingly well in the midst of terrible, terrible things.

Isn’t that what we all want? To live a good and full life, no matter how much life we have?

Life truly is an adventure, a terrible and wonderful adventure, live it. All of it.



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  1. Nothing but love, appreciation, and respect for this. As always…

  2. Absolutely fantastic post, Donloree! This is exactly how I want to live regardless of how many days, months, or years I have left. Thank you!

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