The funny thing about balance is that if you step way, way back from any situation– balance is inherent. Your pendulum may be swinging wildly in one direction at a particular moment in time, but it doesn’t stay there. It will swing in the opposite direction. That’s what can make correcting these “imbalances” ultra tricky. I’ve seen it in myself and others. Whoops! That approach was too _____, next time I’ll do it differently. Down the road, I’m seeing myself too far in the opposite direction, just a little less far from center. Then I correct and end up at the other end, again a little closer to center. It’s like I’m triangulating my way to a central position that I never quite reach because surrounding variables are always changing. Which makes it interesting.
This line of thought would suggest that it’s always best to shoot for that central position with the pendulum moving as little as possible, but I don’t believe that’s true. How do we learn and stretch ourselves if we’re always avoiding pushing our boundaries? Is that really what you want out of your life? Not me!
Think back to my suggestion that our real lives aren’t one big pendulum, but lots of little ones attached at the top. If we have most of our major pendulums swinging wildly, then yes, we’re bound to feel like we’re going to fall off the edge at times. If we have most of our major pendulums swinging more moderately, then we can more easily accomodate one or two areas where we stretch and find our limits. Test ourselves and see what we can do. Yes, sometimes the other pendulums pick up momentum when we don’t expect (lay off’s, family illness, what have you), and that becomes our stretch point and we cut back on our self-imposed challenges.
I’d suggest that this is what I’m doing with triathlon. This is the test pendulum. See what I can handle– what I’m capable of. But it’s not an overwhelmingly big pendulum that dominates all the other pendulums of life. If I shoot too far in my training efforts and have to cut way back, it’s OK. It’s just an experiment, not a requirement for self-esteem.
So am I seeking balance? Well, I certainly don’t want to get too far away from it, because that’s an uncomfortable place to be. I’d say I’m seeking appropriate levels of challenge. What’s appropriate? That’s bound to change, but for now I’m enjoying myself and I think that tells me all I need to know.