Restoring Balance

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As these things usually go, I have been distracted. This blog was great, needed, therapeutic. I was into it, gung-ho! Yet as much as I felt I needed this blog I inevitably got distracted with Life. Life has a tendency to do that to me. My mind is always going in a new direction and when I focus on a direction, I go! Then, as I’m going, I see something else or think of something else and think, “Ooh, I really need to do that” or “Ooh, I really need to tend to this”. Life never fails to distract me from what it is that I’m doing. And with that distraction, I have now neglected the thing that was so necessary. The thing that I felt was SOOO good for me has now been cast aside in lieu of doing Life – buying a house, buying a new car, starting a new job, raising the kids.

And now here I am, a year and a half since my last writing, looking at my life thinking, “Man, things have kind of gotten fuzzy.” I feel as though I have lost some clarity in my life. I don’t necessarily feel like I’m “lost” or anything, unable to “find my way”; I feel as though my focus is lost. I have lost the ability to clearly think about the things most important to me – family, love, faith – and I have allowed my mind to be cluttered with the supposed importance of various accouterments to Life and have, in the meantime, lost the focus on the importance of living Life itself. Have you ever reached a point where you’re coasting? On cruise-control – your body gets up, goes to work, eats, plays with the kids, watches TV, goes to bed, does it all over – but your mind, your heart, your Soul is apparently out of the office? It’s an unnerving feeling to come to the realization that that’s where I am mainly because it makes me think about what Life I’ve missed while in zombie mode. Have I hampered my relationship with my kids? Have I hurt my wife in some way? Have I been rude? Have I been selfish? Have I ignored, pushed aside, disregarded, overlooked, mismanaged, mishandled, damaged, thwarted, or impaired? I have an idea that it’s been kind of okay, but I really have no idea because I’ve been absent.

Admitting your guilt is the first step to recovery, many would say. So, Guilty. Having somehow awakened recently to a life of sleep-walking I feel an urgency to correct, an eagerness to fix, to repair, to mend. I have taken a sabbatical from Facebook for a month starting yesterday. There is nothing wrong with Facebook. In fact, many more people would read this post if I posted it on Facebook. What’s wrong with it in my life is that I have allowed it to distract me. Every day I read a story that gets me all revved up about injustice in the world, how ignorant people can be, how dishonest politicians are now, how messed up our world is in general. And then I go home and tell my wife about it, I get irritated, allow that to affect my attitude with my kids. The other thing that’s wrong with Facebook in my life is that I get caught up. I post videos, I re-post articles, I comment, I like, I friend, I unfriend, how many likes did my picture get, how many comments have I gotten, what’s going on in my friends’ lives…these things begin to consume me, it consumes my time, it consumes my mind. It seems silly and petty when you write it out, but don’t judge. Honestly look at yourself, reader. How many times a day do you check your Facebook? How do you compare yourself to your friends and contacts via Facebook? Tagging pictures, checking in, sharing, commenting. I never felt like I was one who would allow myself to get entangled, but I have. And now, it’s time to loosen the noose that is strangling the Life out of me.

Is is only Facebook? Absolutely not! Something else that has taken a part of me is smoking. I smoked cigarettes for a number of years, eight I think. I quit a while ago, a year or so. Just about the time we started the process of looking for a house to buy, maybe the beginning of 2015, I started casually smoking again. Of course, that’s not possible when you’ve been a smoker before. You fall right back into the habit. I wasn’t smoking a lot, but it was taking away from my life. It was taking time from my wife and kids, it was taking time at work, and it was taking my health. Yet another thing that was distracting me. So, as of yesterday, I have quit again. Cold turkey is the only way I can go. It’s hard, I get cranky, I get tired, but it’s the only way for me. The struggle reminds me why I’m doing it. Reminds me that anything worth doing is never easy.

Now that I’m minimizing the things that I feel were distracting me, I have to be careful to replace them with something else. If you stop one bad habit, and don’t replace it with a good one, you just start another bad habit…I’ve done it, I know! So, now I have to fill those voids with something. The things I’m focusing on are quite simply the opposites of those things that I felt were distracting me – instead of smoking, I’m focusing on healthy eating and I’m starting that with a juice cleanse (save the comments on whether or not you believe a juice cleanse is good for you, please); instead of Facebook, I’m focusing on writing my book that I started a long time ago and reading books that I’ve wanted to read for a long time, and most importantly I’m focusing on time with my wife and kids.

I know there’s no switch you flip and all of a sudden are fixed! A lifestyle is comprised of a long string of daily decisions. This is not a lifestyle “diet”, if you will, to make me lose a couple “pounds” and then go right back to the fattening, unhealthy stuff. This is, hopefully, the recognition of a need. That need is a long string of daily decisions. That need is to amend my lifestyle. This is a lifestyle choice, one that I will need to make many, many more times in the days, weeks, and years to come. Send me your vibes, your juju, your voodoo, your prayers, your mojo, whatever you have that you’d like to send my way to help me, I’ll take it. No one that I know has ever been able to drastically change their lives on their own power. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes the same to help a man change.

Maybe in a month, I’ll update you on Facebook.