Balancing Your Wheel of Life
Life is too short to spend it unhappy. Life can end or change in an instant. It should be enjoyed, savored, and cherished with each day. For some people, life is richly rewarding. For others, life just moves along with missing pieces and deep voids. Sometimes these voids go undetected for years, robbing us of life�s pleasures.
Several months after my spinal cord injury, I attended a seminar where the wheel of life graphic was explained. The wheel is composed of eight segments:
Life is like this wheel and can be analyzed utilizing this analogy. A wheel rolls when it is in balance. A lopsided wheel is unstable and unable to go forward. When life gets out of balance, adjustments are necessary in order to stabilize it.
To take back your life after a major change or to make an assessment of your life, take a look at which segments of the wheel of life are deficient. This can help to explain why you have been feeling the blues. You may feel like something is missing in your life. That something which keeps you from happiness may be one or more of the eight segments.
Color in each of the segments of the wheel of life. Those segments which are abundant need to be filled in more completely. Those segments that are totally deficient leave blank. If a segment is somewhat lacking in your life, partially color in the segment.
When I colored in my wheel of life, the graphic showed me that there was no fun in my life. All of the fun things I used to be able to do before my injury, I could no longer do, and I was depressed due to my loss. My life lacked vitality. All the sporting and recreational activities that I once enjoyed had put my life in balance. Now that these activities were missing from my life, I had to find a way to replace them by adapting my life and learning how to have fun again.
This realization was a major turning point in my recovery. I knew that if I was to get my life back, as close as possible to the way it was before my injury, I had to include fun and recreation as a part of it.
I began actively exploring adaptive sports and recreation programs that were appropriate for my abilities. I wanted to restore life balance and I knew that happiness would return once I leaned how to have fun again. For me, that meant that I had to learn a new way to play tennis, racquetball and golf; go biking, snow skiing, ice skating, kayaking, snorkeling, horseback riding, and snowmobiling. I also made a decision to go to sporting events, movies, picnics, parties, special events, concerts, and the theatre. My husband and I resumed going out on dates with each other and eating out in restaurants. The activities that I could no longer do, like rollerblading, needed a substitute activity. I was open to possibilities and tried new activities every chance I got.
Sometimes people get so caught up raising their family and building careers, they neglect to have fun in their lives. To obtain life balance people should schedule fun activities they enjoy like hobbies, sports, or going to the health club.
As we recognize what segments of our wheel of life need our attention, we need to write goals and begin to work towards them. For me, it meant making a few phone calls and scheduling time to try out new adaptive equipment and receive instruction.
Examine your life balance. Work towards the one segment that is most deficient, that will make the most impact. As you focus on one of the eight components, it is important to also be grateful for the other components of your life and not take these elements for granted.
Research what you will need to do to get started and make a plan. Have some identified goals in mind that you can measure as time goes on so you can see your progress. Be aware of your feelings as you accomplish your goals. At the first sign of success, use this as a fuel to propel you to work your plan.
Your get-up-and-go, energy, and enthusiasm for life can be enhanced by restoring balance in your life. Bring back harmony and happiness by bringing symmetry to your wheel of life.
� Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. would like to read your comments about her column and the impact it has made on your life. She also encourages your ideas for future columns.