CHANGE IS CONSTANT, GROWTH IS OPTIONAL - It’s nearly 2 a.m. I think I was kicked awake by something large passing through my dreams. A shape, that’s all I can remember, as though I were treading w...
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Life Isn't Shaped Like a Baseball Bat. I hope.
I hope life isn't shaped like a baseball bat. A bat has a "sweet spot," the part of the bat a batter wants to hit the ball with to send it on a ride. The sweet spot is a small part of the bat, and if you are standing in the batter's box, you are using all the rest of the bat to try to connect the sweet spot with the ball.
If life is like that, then a whole lot of your life is spent trying to get to the sweet spot; the best part. This came up at dinner with friends the other night; not the baseball bat analogy itself, but the sweet spot. And why, when you find something great, a period of time at work, or life, does the sweet spot have to be finite? Why can't it be extended? Why are the best of days numbered? Looking back at 20-ish years working at the same place, one friend could pick out the best five or six years, which were towards the end of his time there, but didn't last beyond that time frame. Things change.
Life is not all about a job, I think many people will tell you--those with a family, hobbies, passions, a relationship. So maybe it is that careers are shaped like baseball bats? I don't know, I think we can all look back on our lives and find different times when things were cranking along as you'd want them. But invariably, life's sweet spots get superseded, or end, or maybe just change when we weren't looking.
Einstein was a pretty smart cat. Let's invoke him here:
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.
The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.
The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.
Maybe that's the rub. That we expect things to stay the same. We expect to keep doing the same things, which seem to be working at the time, but that is only for a time, and we don't see the change coming. What was the sweet spot becomes a rut, a habit, when we aren't paying attention.
What's a good change metaphor? Let's go with water. Mankind dealing with change is like being in water. If you want to get beneath the surface, you can emulate the diver. Per Pablo Neruda:
Time after time
he takes hold of the water, the sand,
to the hold
of the pitiless
in his slothful
with the water
Neruda was not kind to paper. But he was frequently on to things. His odes, love poems, and epic "Residence on Earth" are a man reckoning with life, existence, the Universe.
"Even his thinking must merge with water." When the physicist and the poet say the same thing, it might be time to pay attention. Embrace change. Don't hold onto things for too long expecting them to stay the same. Merge our thinking with water.
Life doesn't have to be shaped like a baseball bat. If life is change, like water, maybe we can be the diver.