Balancing the five Fs -- faith, family, fitness, fun, force

  • Published
  • By Cmdr. Kevin H. Delano
  • 33rd Flying Training Squadron commander
"Dad, don't forget you promised to take us to the new 'Cars' movie." "Honey, next week is Vacation Bible School; make sure you update your calendar." Hot... quarterly awards...colonel promotion recommendation forms... volunteers needed for... due by close of business today! "No, I didn't make it to the gym this week...again."

Sound familiar?

We have all felt it: the distraction that comes from participating in one activity but thinking about another. The pull in so many directions while trying to adequately fulfill everyone's expectations.

I feel it too. My son is good at catching my wandering mind at home with the words, "Dad, are you thinking about work again?" It is a problem that we as service members -- and our families -- face every day.

The pull of the unbalanced life leads to unnecessary stress, yet the balanced life frankly seems to be an unattainable goal. We are busy, but our "busy-ness" becomes pointless when we just get pulled around, reacting to one thing after another.

Our lives need purposeful order and balance, especially in the areas of faith, family, fitness, fun and force.

Faith -- Faith is our moral and ethical bedrock. It establishes the blueprint for our worldview and dictates how we act and relate to others. For me, being grounded in my spiritual walk sets the tone for the rest of my life.

Family -- Vocalize that family time is a priority. Say it to yourself if you find your mind wandering to work-related issues. Consciously choose to take your thoughts off of work during designated family times, like at the dinner hour. I remind myself that I started my military career with my family and I intend to end it with them as well.

Fitness -- Finding time to get to the gym is hard. But exercise has many benefits, including stress relief, that make it worth fitting into the day. I'm a team sports guy so I try to play volleyball or basketball whenever I can.

On a more regular basis, my wife and I get up early in the morning and hit the streets with Maisy, our new golden retriever. That covers two areas, family and fitness. I get bonus points for that.

Fun -- This should be easy, but for me, fun seems to be the first thing to go. Holding on to stress, however, runs me down and makes it hard to bounce back when exhaustion sets in.

Living a balanced life requires some scheduled time off. It keeps our minds refreshed and ready to support the mission when we are at work. Take leave or carve out some time on the weekend to do something that recharges you.

Force - President John F. Kennedy stated, "Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, 'I served in the United States Navy.'" I believe this is true of any service. It should be this pride and satisfaction, and the valiant service of our Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen down range that drive us to do what we do.

So if your life seems slightly out of order, step back and check the balance of your five Fs. If you're like me, there is a good chance that the scale is tipping more in one direction than another, but it's worth the work to get it back into balance.

Go Navy, beat Air Force!