There’s a point at the fulcrum that does not move.
Posted by Leo Tarvi
I suppose I’m still feeling introspective. I looked at the latest Zen Pencils and found a Sylvia Plath quote that I could deeply relate to. Go take a look at it.
I’m not familiar with the fig tree analogy, though, I usually heard about it as a hallway filled with doors, all open and filled with opportunity and just waiting for you to step through.
It always seemed appropriate to me, when I took it to its logical conclusion. You have all these doors, but you don’t really know what’s behind them until you step through. You don’t know what other doors may be through there, or what horrors may be hidden within that pleasant-looking room. You’re never sure how far you can go before you reach a dead end, and you can never be certain which doors will be locked while you’re exploring a particular room.
Throughout my life I’ve been very aware of the doors that are closing, especially in the last year or two. Last night I saw that one had closed and even though I knew it, knew that it would happen when I chose to walk away from it, seeing that still shook me. I suppose the hardest part of any undertaking is when you can see the sacrifices you’re making for it but don’t yet know what, if anything, the results of your work will be.
Right now I’m in one of those rooms, stumbling in the dark, trying to find a light and hoping there’s another way out. I know I can’t stay here long, but I can hear the doors slamming in that long hallway behind me. I’m not sure there’ll be anywhere left for me to go if I have to backtrack. Maybe I could find a fire axe and go through a wall?
I think I’ve stretched that metaphor about as far as it will go.
Perhaps the hardest thing for me has been balance. I don’t mean walking along a fallen log, I’m actually pretty good at that, I mean finding a happy medium that lets one live comfortably between the unpleasant things that must be done and the joyful things that we’d all rather spend every waking second doing. I have a bad habit of getting the worst of both worlds. (This link seems appropriate here.) I’ll work until I burn out and then rather than taking time to enjoy myself and relax I’ll wind up doing something mindless and boring that’s also non-productive. Like one of those video games that’s fun at first when you’re learning how it works and everything’s new, but gets boring and repetitive once you understand it.
Man, I’ve wasted so many hours feeling vaguely bored at those.
The maddening thing is, every once in a while I get it. I can be that still center in whirling madness, the fulcrum of the lever that changes up to down usefully without moving itself. I work and play and rest and it all works out well. I can work hard, get a lot done, be creative and recognize when I’ve reached my limit and need to do something else. The maddening thing is that when I’m in that state it feels so easy, feels like I should have no trouble staying that way, and if I do have a bad day it’ll be trivial to get back to it, right?
Of course not. When, not if, things go awry it feels impossible that I could ever be so competent, let alone do it again.
I know I’m not the only one who does this, but it always feels like I am. We can’t see the minds of others, so we don’t know what sort of doubt they feel. That makes it easy to forget that to some degree everyone feels way. Ain’t none of us totally confident.
Two ideas I see all the time are that we are each special and unique, and at the same time that we are no more special than anyone else. And of course they’re both true. We’re all just folk, yet nobody is just normal. “Normal” isn’t even a useful concept when speaking of individuals. People are complicated, and we build so many little fantasies around ourselves that we forget how complicated we all are. We tend to simplify our ideas of each other so that we can fit them in our minds, and a lot can get lost in that.
I’d love to have some great insight to share at the end, here, but the truth is I’ve got nothin’. It’s probably worth remembering that this is our only life, and it’s ticking away one second at a time. Decision paralysis has wasted far too much of mine already, better to make a bad choice than none at all.
Take care of yourselves everybody, and try to appreciate one another.
About Leo TarviMostly fictional.
Posted on September 15, 2013, in Daily Post and tagged does anybody read tags?, I started with a fairly coherent idea but writing is hard and I got tired, mental-health, perspective is scary sometimes, pretentious philosophizing (redundant?), Two posts in one day! What sorcery is this?, you are beautiful. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
Doors, windows, low-hanging fruit – life’s metaphors for ‘look out for that impending disaster!’ and ‘oops, you missed that opportunity’ are vast, aren’t they? It got me thinking about an anecdote, a metaphor.. and I would eagerly go there, but I’m rather busy at the moment, exploring a room, and trying to get through an open door to grab that window before it closes… be right back… 😉