Day: September 7, 2006

Not Balanced

I frequently hear and read about people trying to achieve balance in their lives. When I think of balancing my life I picture myself attempting to carefully support all my kids and my housework and the business stuff and the writing and the wife stuff and the Sandra stuff and the religious stuff and dinners made and sleep and yardwork and bad mood days and… well you get the idea. Some of those things would be metaphorically sitting precariously on top of long poles. With that image I have to stay very still to keep everything balanced. Because if I move, or if a single thing gets added or subtracted, everything might come crashing down. Balance is very static and very tense.

I don’t want to live a balanced life.

What I want is dynamic equilibrium. Dynamic equilibrium is like one of those metal novelty toys where all the bits are constantly moving and it looks like everything is going to fall apart at any time, yet somehow the whole thing keeps going and nothing falls. My life is like that. Things get added. Things go away. But since I’m already moving around, shifting a little to accommodate isn’t very hard at all. Dynamic equilibrium requires constant tinkering to make sure that things don’t cause other things to fall out of place. Sometimes the whole system needs to be pulled apart and rebuilt from scratch. Sometimes rebuilding means I have to take pieces out completely, and leave them out permanently, to make space for other pieces. On such days I feel like a failure. Sometimes I just wish things would hold still for awhile. It feels like if things would just hold still I could manage everything, thus comes the lure of balance. The truth is that dynamic equilibrium is far more stable than balance.

What does this metaphor mean in practical application? It means that sometimes the dishes don’t get done and I don’t beat myself up about it because I know I’ll catch them on the next pass through the kitchen. Sometimes the laundry piles up. Sometimes I don’t make kids do chores. Sometimes I make the kids do more chores than usual. Sometimes homework doesn’t happen. I’m allowed to have not so good days because sometimes I have amazingly effective days. Bad days are not the end of the world because everything keeps moving and this inevitably swings me out of the bad day and into a better one.

The last couple of days were not good days. I suspect forgetting my thyroid medication a couple of times last week has something to do with my inability to cope. This afternoon is better than this morning was. The future isn’t yet bright, but it is not so bleak as it seemed at 9:30 am. I’m still tinkering with the Fall schedule to find one that can keep flowing with nothing crashing or falling. Hopefully I can get through this evening and tomorrow with nothing else going: TWANG!

Link’s birthday

Today is Link’s birthday. As is customary I brought treats to his class. His teacher also told me that I could have a few minutes to play a game or to tell something about Link. I decided to take along Link’s game boards and his pieces. These are all made out of paper and crafted by Link himself. He spends enormous amounts of time creating them and then playing with them. I figured it was an easy way to fill the time. I did not expect the awed reaction from Link’s peers. They were completely impressed with the game boards and blown away by the tiny paper playing pieces. Link is a Game Maker and that amazes them all. I’m so glad I took the games. I want Link to realize that though he struggles with some things in school, he also does stuff that amazes his friends.

I think in a month or two I need to have Howard go into Link’s class and tell them about being a cartoonist. When Howard does, he needs to take along some of the amazing cartoons that Link draws. I want to cement in Link’s mind that there are lots of things he is really good at. The top of the list are Video Games, Game Making, and Cartoon Drawing.

Later tonight we’ll be ordering pizza and putting birthday candles in it. Link wanted that instead of a cake. For now Link is happily playing his new video game. I think it is being a good birthday for him.

Addendum: Wax candles placed into a hot pizza will melt onto the pizza. Go figure.