WEEK THIRTY-EIGHT: BALANCE
I started a journal a couple years ago, mostly to knock the rust off my writing. In flipping through past entries, I noticed one topic that cycles disturbingly through this self-indulgent tome. That topic is Balance – or more precisely, my despair over its absence in my life. It seems that I too often find myself doing one thing while wishing I could be doing something else. So I capture that angst in my journal, toss it into a bucket called “My Lack of Balance” and then set about thinking analytically, yet again, about how to fix this recurring problem. Unfortunately for me, the fix is almost always to work faster or more efficiently or to try to make my day longer by sleeping less. Anyway, I’m finally starting to see Balance as just an illusion, like this photo of a Chihuly glass work, which appears to be many balls balanced skillfully on one glass ball, but is instead just a small crop of a large row boat filled with those very glass balls. Here’s what I mean about Balance being an illusion. If you work 50 or 60 hours a week, perhaps more, and that makes you happy, and if you can live with everything else being a lower priority, then that is Balance for you. If that does not make you happy, and if you cannot continue to live with everything else getting the short shrift, and if you’ve been unsuccessfully wrestling with this for years, then what we have here is some sort of delayed gratification on steroids. Time to call it what it really is. Delayed gratification is one of those concepts you dutifully teach your kids, even though you personally loathe it, deep down inside. It is in that rucksack you have carried around since childhood, along with eating everything on your plate and arranging your life to please others. It is one of those ideas that works in small doses but may not be advisable as the general rule. It has, apparently, taken me six decades to begin to sort this out, and by “sorting out”, I only mean seeing it for what it really is. A choice. My choice. Note: The Float Boat is part of the Chihuly Collection, permanently housed in St. Petersburg, Florida. This collection is amazing in so many ways, but for me the best part is that the museum allows visitors to photograph, at will, anything in the museum. How forward-thinking of them. This abstract photo was taken without flash and processed in Lightroom and Photoshop.