Do you love a good fairy tale?
But I have to remember that they’re not real. And I have to remember not to expect anything in real life reality to be like any thing in a fairy tale.
Because it’s easy to get swept up in the beauty and emotion of a shining knight saving me at the last moment. Birds landing on my shoulder. Magic carpet rides. And a happily ever after.
When I was expecting actual men to save me and actual wild animals to love me, I ended up single and squirrel – bitten. (That’s 100% true) And the wedding is not the happy end – it’s just the beginning! Whether it’s happy or not is not a matter of chance or luck. It’s more like choice. A series of choices.
Balance is another fairy tale. Like somehow it’s possible to hold work / business / career in one hand and kids / family / rest in the other hand. Or balance the left and right sides of your brain. Or any 2 things that tug on each other. And while both your hands are gently cradling the two opposing things, you are relaxed with a soft peaceful smile. Ahhhh.
It’s a big fat lie. Balance isn’t some steady state of relaxed equilibrium. Like once it’s achieved you’re done. Balance requires constant adjustment. CONSTANT. Take your shoes and socks off and stand on one foot. Watch your foot. You’ll see how the little muscles and ligaments in your foot are constantly flexing and adjusting – even when you feel pretty balanced. It takes constant attention and work to keep you upright.
And so I’ve found life. The man of my dreams was nothing like I’d pictured. If I’d been stuck on the finding the fairy tale, I wouldn’t have seen him when he showed up. Balance is an arbitrary metric. If you’re happy at an extreme, be happy. And if/when you’re tired of it, swing to the other extreme. Give it a try over there. Then you can pick and choose your favorite things from each side. Beware any other popular fairy tales – kids or grown up.
Find what brings you joy, and you have permission to pick and choose all the elements in your life to maximize your joy.
Life is short. Follow your joy. Let the spinning plates fall if they must.