Books. Bullets. Bourbon.
Sometimes I think that’s what I should have named this blog.
I’m a sucker for an alliteration, and those are three of my great loves in life.
But, when it comes right down to it, there’s more to writing than books. There’s more to fighting than just bullets. And there’s more to life than bourbon.
The question is, do you want to be a caricature?
Do you want to be a simplistic drawing, a rendition of your true self that is distilled down into the most readily-recognizable qualities? A version of yourself that is bereft of any of the nuanced details that make you who you really are?
Sure, I like books. Love ‘em. I also like most things that fire bullets, and in fact, I enjoy making bullets themselves—it’s an interesting and exacting science. And I often wrestle with which would be more devastating to my sanity—a worldwide shortage of coffee, beer, or bourbon?
But those things don’t make me who I am.
So, how do you avoid being a caricature of yourself? Or, in other words, how do you live outside of the box? Or, in still other words, how do you live a life of balance?
Hell, I’m not your life coach. But I got a decent idea.
I’m not a Buddhist, but I like to recall the story of Siddartha, sitting by the river, hearing the lute-player tuning his instrument. It was then that Siddartha had an epiphany about living a life in balance, and he described it as “the middle way.”
If you tighten the string too much it will snap. If you leave it too loose it won’t make a sound.
But there’s more to balance than just walking a fine line.
Walking a line is a relatively simple task. And if that’s all you do, then you’ll end up being a relatively simple person—essentially, a caricature: a basic, black-and-white drawing, rife with un-fruited potential. Just a dumbed-down version of what you really could be.
You know how else you maintain balance?
Seemingly conflicting things that, when held opposite each other, balance each other out.
We are capable of incredible things, and we are capable of incredible versatility.
A truly great life must have contrast. It must have juxtaposition. That contrast is what makes each individual thing wonderful to do, rather than another stale repetition of the same old same old grind.
Adventure is not complete without the quietude of home. Without adventure, the home becomes a prison. Food tastes better when you’re hungry. The couch feels best when you’ve worked hard.
Conversely, if you eat gourmet every meal, it will soon lose its verve. And if you rest all of the time, that couch becomes cloying.
What are the things that have no counter-balance in your life?
Too much social media, not enough human connection?
Or is it too much human connection, and not enough solitude?
Too much of watching other people’s experiences, not enough of living your own life?
Or have you been so busy living it up that you’re desperate for the quiet life?
An unbalanced machine will very quickly tear itself apart.
Learn how to balance yourself. Things run a lot smoother that way.
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