Okay, this is what I've noticed about attention:
If the average person has X units of attention in their attention reservoir, the way they choose to divide it has a characteristic look to it at certain times of their life.
Say that we each have 100 units of attention. During the early parenting years, 95 of them are spent on kids, 5 spent on spouse, none spent on ourselves. Later, as the kids get older, 50 of them are spent on kids, 30 are spent on spouse, and 20 are tentatively spent on ourselves...but we feel guilty the whole time.
So finally the kids are grown. Suddenly your daily allotment of attention units are up for grabs, and it becomes a little mini-crisis to decide how to use them. Suddenly free will has come back into your life...and you freak out.
Which is why, in your mid '40s, you decide that you need to put in a half acre garden and become a combination of Bob Villa and a New York Times book reviewer. Because the precious commodity of attention units are languishing unused on your mental shelf, and you're afraid that if you don't take them down and exercise them, they'll go the way of all your other unexercised parts.
Balance. That's the objective. Write that down, Lori.