Balance

My first tattoo was a crudely sketched set of drama masks on my right shoulder blade.

Comedy and Tragedy.

It was meant to symbolize not only my love of theater (raise your hand if you’d be surprised to hear I was active in drama when I was younger…), but also my propensity for extremes.

Comic, tragic.  Black, white.  Good, bad.  Right, wrong.  Everything and nothing.

My life is a study in superlatives.  Over and over again I find myself needing to learn about the land that lies between the poles: the middle ground of peace and meh.

I’ve noticed a new extreme.  It’s not new – in fact, now that I see it, I can see that I’ve been not seeing it for as long as I can remember.  It’s a pattern I’ve replayed time ang again with the same resuls, but only recently am I starting to recognize it for what it is.  Or at least, what it might be.

Obsession.

Whether it’s a project or an idea, a person or a goal, I throw myself into these things.  I lose myself completely.  I tell myself that it’s temporary – that if I can just focus long enough, that then – then

Then, what?

Then I can move on?  Then I can back off?  Then I can direct my attention towards another passion?

I don’t know, but I know that then never seems to come.  Before then ever has a chance of arriving, I notice all the other things – people and projects, priorities and commitments – that have been neglected in the interim.  I am reminded that life does not stop for my obsessions.  Time does not stand still and wait for then to arrive.

In my frustration and anger, I swing from obsession to abandonment, gather up the scattered pieces of the rest of my life, nurse back what I can salvage, and wait for the next bright and shiny and oh so much different from last time obsession to walk by me.

My past is quickly becoming a graveyard of abandoned obsessions.

And, more importantly, I’m no longer content to neglect and then rebuild the constants in my life.

It’s not OK to shove my children aside for weeks, and then try to make up for it with weeks of quality time.

It’s not aside to put my marriage on the back burner, and then desperately try to refertalize it with dates and long talks.

And it is not even OK to let the day to day – the laundry, the dishes, the grocery shopping, the basics – go unattended so along that it becomes something that has to be done right now.  I mean, yes, sometimes life gets busy and that happens.  But this is a pattern I keep repeating over and over and over again.

I run at top speed until we’re all coasting on fumes, and then I refuel just to do it all over again.  There’s no maintenance or consistency.

This isn’t working for me anymore.  I’m losing big chunks of my life in the recovery periods – I’m missing big chunks of their lives.  And it’s exhausting.  It’s a constant state of pure adrenaline or total depletion.  Back and forth and back and forth with no equilibrium to count on.

I don’t want to run in this circle anymore.

I need to find the balance.

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