Did you know that when a Bald Eagle loses a feather, it will automatically shed the same feather on the other wing to maintain balance? Isn’t that fascinating? Think about how incredible it would be if when we suffer a stressful event in our lives, something calming and amazing would instantly happen to help us balance our emotions. Finding balance has to be one of life’s most challenging achievements. I would love to say that I am the poster child for this balancing act, but I tend to represent the Murphy’s Law angle of balance – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. If it is going to happen, it is going to happen to me. Oh yes, it is delightfully true. I would be the one Bald Eagle who would lose multiple feathers on one wing and go into a tailspin. I doubt that I would crash, but it would be a fierce struggle to right my flight and soar again. The proof is in my history.
I have written that I lost my father one month before my high school graduation. What I did not share is that four days following his funeral, I had to sing the female lead role in our high school musical, “Brigadoon.” And if that was not hard enough, on the fifth day between Friday and Saturday night musical performances, I had to sit for my college SAT exams. I had waited until the last seating to complete those tests, so I had no choice but to take them. I definitely went into an emotional nosedive that took months to level, but I survived it all a much stronger person than before. Just do not ask me what my English score was on that exam. Somehow on that day this future journalistic hopeful became a science prodigy instead of a Poet Laureate.
So, the debate ensues: Maybe the advantages of perfect balance do not always make for the best outcome. Perhaps our life journey is meant to be volatile and uneven. My dad used to say, “Life is great if you don’t weaken.” Maybe adversity actually lights the path to personal growth and survival. Maybe the more we overcome, the higher we soar. Or maybe, just maybe, it all means nothing. It is merely the choices we make that define our path. Anyone care to dive into that cryptic rabbit hole?
My thoughts on this topic have changed dramatically since I have gotten older. I finally realized that every day is a new day, and it is not what I did yesterday that gives my existence worth. It is what I will do today, and every day going forward. If I take care of today, tomorrow will take care of itself, and yesterday is no more. Yes, I know that is pretty black and white, but it is impossible to muddle through the infinite shades of gray anymore (and there are way more than fifty). When I think about all the hours I have lost worrying about what might happen, the palms of my hands get sweaty and the lump in my throat bulges like a croaking bullfrog. It is not a pretty sight.
What is it those syrupy and delirious Hallmark writers say? Dance like no one is watching. Sing like you know the words. Live the life you imagined. Doesn’t sound quite so delirious anymore, does it. I can add to those adages by saying: Don’t hate today, don’t dread tomorrow – find balance. Sit back, take a deep breath, and ask, “Why the bleepity-bleep did I worry about that?” I would almost bet that your answer will be, “I don’t know why.” And that, my friends, is liberating.
This has been a good day of soul-searching. The power went out almost two hours ago on this rainy day and provided the sounds of silence I needed for provocative thinking. Okay, so maybe a second glass of wine did not hurt either. Regardless, it feels good when you have expressed a thought or come to a conclusion that lifts a multitude of burdens. I also had an illuminating epiphany that awarded me permission to blog about what I had deemed a forbidden topic. A light switch just flipped. I wonder if the creative side of my brain will cooperate? Ah, but that is fodder for yet another rant.