Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Balance. What is that?

As kids we worked and worked, skinned our knees and punished our resilient little bodies until that instant when we got balance. It was magical. It opened up a new world to us. The bicycle seemed to stand up on its own having granted us absolution through the self inflicted scrapes and bruises. We sailed effortlessly into new realms and had access to new sets of friends and experiences. You either had it or you didn't. It was black and white. But it was the thing itself that we wanted and all that it provided.

Today, as adults, we speak of balance. We get that misty look in our eye and speak of achieving it in the same way we experienced it as children. But it is less of the "thing" that we desire. It is more of an avoidance of the pain of not having it that is the allure. The balance we seek as "grown ups" is more nebulous. It is all too obvious when it is absent, and more taken for granted and ignored when it is present. And, it is never black and white - you never get it and never have to worry about whether it is present or not. It required constant vigilance... at least that is true for me.

It has been 6 months or so since the State burned down our house. I don't say that with a sneer or venom. It is simply fact, and one I don't want people to forget. And in the "balance", they have done very little to even the scales. So, we work and work at what amounts to another full time job trying to set our lives straight again. Recently, many things have gone well for us and we may actually have a place to live and call our own. It is in sight. But we are tapped out, our knees are skinned and we are bruised. If we relied on the illusive balance to achieve the things we have to this point, I am afraid we would not be nearly as far along as we are. Maybe to us balance is that position on the razors' edge between sanity and a clean slice away from it. Maybe there is no such thing and it is some fantasy destination that is far less tangible than riding a bike.

For me, as I sit here writing this in Seattle on this project that has been the most challenging and stressful thing I have ever undertaken, I realize that if this did not push me out of "balance" there would be no growth. I suppose the edge of exhaustion is not good either, but who is to say. Do I rely on some nebulous destination called "balance" to tell me or do I just go for it and achieve what I can until I don't want to any more. I am fairly certain I will never arrive and start sailing along effortlessly. I am even more sure that there is no such thing as "balance" in the way we use the word as adults. It is only some fantasy of arrival that we have created that can never really be achieved. We should create new language for what it is that we really want. Call it rest, or a time out, or being lazy or being highly motivated.... You name it. But balance as we use the word literally does not exist in reality.

1 comment:

  1. I love you my fellow traveller in this wacky unbalanced thing called life.