Life is serious and important. The flipping of the calendar (so to speak) reminds us to solemnly assess what was and choose what will be. But just as the passage of time reminds us how very serious and fleeting life is, it also serves as a reminder that, as King Solomon said, “This too shall pass.” Don’t take it all so seriously.
I vacillate, sometimes by the hour, between taking life too seriously and not taking it seriously enough. One moment I’m ruminating over an email and asking myself what my eternal legacy will be. The next I’m dancing around the kitchen with my kids and making silly faces at my dog.
I can think ten times about whether to post something on social media. The next day I’ll impulsively post an unflattering selfie just for fun. Monday might find me perseverating over who “liked” what and why. Tuesday I’ll forget to check altogether. Wednesday I’ll like my thoughtful Monday me better and Thursday I’ll crave the carefree version.
I want to have fun and I want to take life seriously. I want to care and I want to not care. I want to divorce my phone and I want to marry it forever. I want to delete all my apps just as I’m downloading new ones. I want to donate all my clothes and be a minimalist. Also, here’s a cute dress online! I want to be comfortable. Also I want to dress up. I want to go out with friends. Also I want to be home with my kids. I want to explore the universe!! Also I want to relax. I want to learn new things. Also I’m tired.
What to do with the bundle of contradictions that is me?
My friend Adrienne Gold says you either marry your homework or give birth to it. I think, on our own, we are all in a state of imbalance. The people we love are placed in our lives to help us with this. They may demonstrate a different balance or more likely just tell us overtly that we’re kind of messed up. This is good, because we wouldn’t know it otherwise. In a calibrated relationship we balance each other out, often taking turns with the crazy so no one becomes overwhelmed. Or maybe everyone becomes overwhelmed sometimes. That’s part of the journey.
When my husband and I were dating we were very young, very serious about life, and very focused on our respective values. But at some point in the midst of all our earnest conversations he said this: “Don’t worry. We are going to have fun together.”
For some reason this was unforgettable. I do tend to overthink, to importantize the trivial, to read meaning where it isn’t. Fun is the balance. If too serious is the Monday me then the Tuesday me is the medicine.
So I’m not a dual personality or unforgivably out of balance – I’m just a human trying to navigate this world with grace and gravitas and dancing. My people help with the balance. And don’t worry – I help them too. We help each other. That’s the point. Then we say goodnight, and start over again in the morning.