The Balance Paradigm: If I could just find the sweet spot, I’d be able to: work, write, get enough exercise, sleep, eat well, stay in touch with friends, be supportive to people I care about, be a good mom, find fulfillment -- and it’d all flow beautifully.
...Balance, for more than a moment, is impossible for any living creature. Do you hear me, people? It. Doesn’t. Exist.
I agree that perfect balance is a myth. No way I can do as much of everything I'd like to do. For me, it's a question of what I'm willing to sacrifice versus what I'm not. For example, I'd like to buy and read every book that catches my eye, but if I did, I'd have less time to write. I've given up a lot of leisure and social activity in favor of writing, especially as the economy has declined, but writing is still most important to me.
I think anyone who has committed to calling him/herself a writer, lawyer, doctor, baker, mother, etc. is willing to devote the bulk of time to it, giving up other pursuits. The pace of people's lives reflects what they are most committed to doing.
That said, it's impossible to commit all your time to one pursuit and keep doing it well. The mind and body need to rest. Exactly how much downtime we need varies from person to person, but if "balance" means "a little of everything", I don't think we need it to be happy. We need to find the time to do what's most important to us.