Keeping your balance

balancing actI’m sitting here watching the birds sitting on the bare twigs in the freezing rain while I sip on a hot coffee, and I started wondering what it must be like to be a bird. The don’t have this annoying capacity for reflection which we do, so they’re not bothered with the wild goose chase for happiness which we’re always going on even when we swear we aren’t. All they’re bothered with are the three variables of security, food/health, and sex. As long as those three variables are satisfied then they’re happy, whatever that happens to mean in the bird world. Although I’m quite sure I’d be be a little bit unhappy sitting on a twig freezing my ass off in the rain.

Humans on the other hand are never satisfied. As soon as we’ve satisfied the three variables, we go searching for more. So we’re safe, well-fed, getting laid, and we’re happy about it for a while. Then it wears off. Now we start thinking we’re not making enough money, or that we’re not famous enough, or we’re not creative enough. So we start trying to fulfil these new variables we’ve found, but in so doing, we often sacrifice our original accomplishments in the first three.

Making more money means more work, less of a social life, which in turns leads to less sex and/or a broken marriage.

Becoming famous also creates problems, because it means sacrificing security. You may be famous, but now you’re a target. Usually because you’re rich and extravagant, in a prominent political position, or you’re simply hated for being famous.

Trying to be more creative also leads to problems if it’s taken to be more important than it is. How many starving artists do you know of? They’ve maxed out the creative variable by sacrificing the security, food/health, and sex variables. So they might bring out some brilliant work, but they’re on the path to self-destruction.

Even when a person can’t find new variables to fulfil, they often start overloading the first three instead. Overweight or anorexic people have overloaded the food/health variable. Paranoid people are quaking in their self-created ruts from overloading the security variable. And while promiscuous people might often be envied, they’re usually overcome with self-loathing from not being able to build a lasting relationship. They’ve maxed out the sex variable.

This is the curse and blessing of being human. We have the capability for great things, but only when we can find that perfect balance between security, food/health, sex, and the newly found variables we believe to be our purpose. By all means, find those new variables and work hard (and smart) towards fulfilling them. But watch your balance. If something doesn’t feel right or you’re feeling depressed and lacking energy for no obvious reason, it’s probably because you’re out of balance. And when you’re not balanced, from focusing on one area at the cost of others, then you’re building up a debt in those neglected areas. And the greater that debt becomes, the harder it is to pay back, because it usually comes with interest.

So keep your balance, before the universe decides to repossess the neglected parts of your life, leaving you wondering where it all went wrong.

2005.04.23