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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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A Balancing Act

A balancing act starts early between a child and her parents. Who determines bedtime, and what is acceptable behavior? Negotiations among siblings put a more delicate spin on this fulcrum. It continues between a teenager and her friends. Who and what is cool and who and what is not? So many futures are envisioned, but do you have the courage to pursue your dreams? Are your plans based on reality, or are they just fantasies of what might be? The possibilities seem limitless, but fear of leaving the known dampens your goals.

The balancing act becomes more pronounced once you become man and wife. Blending family traditions and child-rearing practices are just the opening gambits. Juggling career goals, family obligations, and time to be a couple once again strain even the strongest of marriages at times. There always seems to be one more thing that needs to be done, and there is little energy left to do it. Deadlines and pressing demands at work are pitted against family needs. “It’s your turn to take a sick day as our daughter has strep throat again. I took off the last time!”

Things don’t improve when the balancing act is between an adult child and aging parents. Watching helplessly as you see your parents decline, you assume responsibility for financial and medical needs. This is in addition to wrangling teenagers, graduate school, and work. Sleep deprivation becomes a way of life as you try to be all things to all people.

These stages in life bring conflict, angst, and frustration. They also signal love, concern, and expectations. Having experienced all of these stages throughout my life, I have emerged relatively unscathed. I may be tarnished about the edges perhaps but burnished with the love and care of those critical people in my life. I like to think that I have grown more patient and compassionate, less judgmental, and more open to differing mindsets.

I wonder what lies in the balance to come for me? Isolation, infirmity, and loss? No, thank you. There is still time to grow a garden, explore new lands and expand my knowledge and understanding. It is time to watch my children succeed in life and see the world as something new and exciting with my grandchild. There is still time to reflect and act on what can yet be accomplished.

Time to balance my life.

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