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Thursday, January 01, 2009

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Crooked Road


I've been craving a moment of quiet so I can write down some goals and intentions for the New Year, but quiet fled out the back door when the kids came home from the last day of school and isn't expected back until Monday.

I've become a believer about being specific about the things I want to happen. As a departure point, anyway. Life seems to unfold along a course that lies outside the familiar highways and byways of my imagination, but I figure you've got to start somewhere, or you don't get anywhere.

My resolutions are an itinerary written in pencil, not ink.

This year, one goal has to do with relationships. I've got a decreasing amount of time spread across an increasing number of people, and I'd like to find the magic ratio for tending the relationships that matter most, while staying open to the new ones.

Then there's the usual "exercise more, eat less, live better" darts thrown up on the map.

I guess they are all coordinates in the eternal quest for balance.

Somewhere, I read or heard the idea that a life in motion is necessarily one of perpetual imbalance. Just as we shift our weight from side to side in order to walk, ambulating through life requires us to sway back and forth. Balance isn't static; it's a process of correction. A little more of this, a little less of that, and so on.

It's stood me in good stead. Frankly, I've come to think that the culture oversells us on the idea of the balanced, well-rounded life. I think it's a very pale rainbow we keep chasing, and maybe even shorthand for mediocrity. The most vibrant people I know are not models of balance. Some of them are decidedly off-kilter. But they shine with passion, vision and drive.

I think that's worth a few dropped balls.

"More balanced" is an oxymoron, but it's what I'm lurching toward in '09. Not perfection. Not a pie chart sliced into nice, equal sections. Just some (oops) more of this, some (oops) less of that.



Blogger Ashley said...

Thanks. I needed a way of expressing what I was feeling and you did it for me.

Here's to you and your wonderful, insightful writing. Your blog makes me smile a little almost every day.

Happy 2009

10:45 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Fantastic! Just what I needed to read this morning as I approach the same task (with a house full of three noisy but happy boys).

Your relationship goal speaks loudly to me. My husband pointed out to me recently that I'm watering too many "dead plants" and my nurturing of relationships should be (oops) shifted.

Tossing the pen over my shoulder, and grabbing the pencil. Thanks.

10:46 AM  
Blogger paper napkin said...

This is a fantastic post, and really underscores my own approach to resolutions this year. Shifting, reshaping, honing, more of this and less of that. Thanks.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I get it!!! You said it just right! If you get a chance check --there is some profound writing going around there from my friends! V.houks

12:58 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Harper said...

Well said.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

I really like what you said about how balanced is sometimes code for mediocrity. I am going for controlled chaos this year! Have a great year.

3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always say that the nature of balance is imbalance. And something else I say is that life is never out of balance, we only think it is. And then I remember to say to myself, "Shut up!"and balance instantly restores itself the way night follows day.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Geoff Meeker said...

I like how you slipped the "oops" in there at the end. It's like going to Confession before you've committed the sin. I am reminded of the quote, "Everything in moderation, including moderation."

11:52 AM  
Blogger kazari said...

I think all planning is science fiction. It's based on a sensible premise, and then extrapolated beyond the bounds of what we know.

But I agree, you have to start somewhere : )
balance sounds good to me.

4:35 PM  
Blogger Tracey said...

Ditto. I don't need to be balanced to be happy. I need to be HAPPY to feel balanced...

7:00 PM  
Blogger Timmy said...

I love this post. It's about a universal topic. Universal topics are great because we all experience them. What's better is a universal solution. For this particular problem I think a certain set of scales should be looked at. At one end there is evil(selfishness, laziness, pride, slander, and hate). On the other is the opposite of evil, not good, but love(kindness, care, empathy, sympathy, prayer, generosity, and unselfishness).

If we all focused much more on being loving creatures, I think we would find every other set of scales in our lives become much more balanced, seemingly on their own. In fact, many sets of scales may disappear altogether, as parts of them have become unimportant, meaningless in our more loving eyes.

Another possibly helpful hint:
Maybe things like "the usual 'exercise more, eat less, live better' darts" and "tending the relationships that matter most, while staying open to the new ones" can be combined into a single effort. Take a girlfriend(new or old, and dress appropriately lol) out to the gym 2 or 3 times a week, volunteer with your husband a few times a month(local food pantries are always in need, bring your kids even.), etc.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Rachel Cotterill said...

Doing a constant string of cartwheels requires a kind of balance - I think that's how I live my life :)

I don't really 'do' new year's resolutions but I have a general year-round devotion to making sure I enjoy my life, because really, no-one else is going to do that for me. Other goals/commitments come and go throughout the year.

4:02 AM  
Blogger /brandon\ said...

for me, 2008 was a year of constricting my relationships, but i haven't decided if i am better off for it or not yet. i am dipping my toes in the water for '09, but reserve the right to run for the car at the first sign of waves.

12:20 PM  
Blogger tracey clark said...

I have 2 words to say about that photo.
hot stuff.

1:49 PM  
Blogger ....who knows?! said...

no doubt on the photo!
and balance? balance, smalance! ;)
is it peace, not balance we seek in the middle of off-kilter?

4:45 PM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

I am also a great believer in goals and the value of setting a course in which to go...what is interesting is how it all turns out...this year I'm actually going to track it and see what happens!

11:34 AM  

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