I am a child of the 80’s. My generation witnessed our childhood past times morph from contiguous summer days spent playing deep in the woods and competing in tennis-ball baseball games in the cul-de-sac with our friends, to playing video games and sitting glued to the television.
The video games that we played began with Pong and then rapidly progressed to more complex games such as Missile Command & Asteroids. Eventually, our gaming sophistication advanced to include Pac-Man and Donkey-Kong. It was right about at that time that I lost interest and hung up my joy-stick forever.
What I remember most about the video games that I played was the common feature of incremental increases in speed and difficulty as I advanced in the game. Regardless of the game played, the missiles, asteroids or ghosts were going to flatten me. Admittedly, these games were fun and popular with my peers and me, but eventually I simply lost interest.
Fast forward to present day and my family’s summer has been busy and packed tightly with many personal and professional commitments. Some days, these demands often leave us feeling as if we are running to a standstill. Despite our best intentions, individual schedules collide and our daily plans devolve into something that resembles a rugby scrum.
Although there have been very challenging days, I continue to assert that establishing Balance and Focus is possible. In my experience, it typically begins with the recognition that something has to change. There is certainly more to life than accumulating and achieving. If I were to lose sight of this basic tenet, my life will continue to progress incrementally in complexity and speed, just as in the aforementioned video games. As a result, I may be left with the false impression that I have no control over the pace at which my life is moving. To the contrary, I can absolutely set the pace at which my life is moving.
Another recollection of my younger days involves a memory of my mom coming downstairs to either unplug the TV or eject the video game du jour and send us into the great outdoors. I need to understand that unplugging from my machines and the other insidious elements of our cultural matrix are now my responsibilities. On a daily basis, I must commit to reclaiming territories that I had inadvertently ceded; lost to busyness, over-commitment and the influence of technology. All of us will benefit from a little more perspective in our lives.
I am now working on a strategy to return to, using the video game vernacular, “level one” in my life. It is more satisfying and fun for me to be completely in control of just a few things, rather than to be engulfed by the momentum of too many things…no matter how cool or appealing those extra things may seem. In most cases, I find that less is more. Vigilance is the key. Am I willing to disappoint someone else in order to protect the precious reserves of my time and personal resources? Yes I am!
Very often, my wife and I regroup after falling in to bed, once again wondering how we survived the variety of whirlwinds and micro-bursts that consumed our day. It is in those moments that we recommit to reeling in control of our lives. We find it to be a delicate metering of advances and retreats. When we are “doing it right,” it has a tangible rhythm. Ultimately, the goal is to maintain a simplicity in our lives in order that we may establish some white space and be more receptive to serendipity and the impromptu gifts of the day.
Will you start by protecting one hour in twenty-four, morning or night, from the noise and busyness of a typical day?
Thomas “TD” Dierker
Live like you’re dying…. cause you are!