WHAT!?! FREE?!?! Everyone jump on that! Who cares what it is, who it benefits or embarrasses? What does it matter if it’s crap? Where do I have to go to get it? Why can’t I have two? When can I get it and shove it on top of the pile of free things stuffed in my closet?
I hate to break it to you, but I’m not offering any free tangible objects today. If you place any value on impactful advice, this is the post for you. ‘Free’ can refer to a special price on that book you’ve been eyeing on Amazon, triple coupon day applied to your favorite brand of toothpaste, or a courage-inducing, yet peaceful, feeling. The question is, how can I feel that fresh-breath-walking-0n-air freedom every day?
Lately, I’ve been crazed with finishing my second book, challenged with raising a family, wrestling with teaching teenagers suffering from senioritis, and yearning to read a really good book. Through all of the commotion of social media, deadlines, and laundry, I’ve been able to feel balanced on most days. Honestly, some of those days I felt like I was balancing on a tightrope.
Feeling free, balanced, content… it’s not as easy as you’d think, but I’m getting a grasp on my ideal world and how I’d like it to live in it. What may surprise you is that I’m currently seeking moderation in everything I do. When I wake up from a foggy, monotonous haze of words, or grocery shopping, or endless Netflix, or grading in the middle of the afternoon I’ve realized that I’m leaning toward one extreme or the other; neglect or obsession.
We all have days when we neglect the inevitable. The problem is that by ignoring the red-circled chicken scratch in your day planner you’re inviting a big dose of guilt in with the ten episodes of Firefly. Neglect can take many forms, and maybe your kitchen is tidy, but your health consists of greasy drive-thru combos on a daily basis. You might eat a salad for lunch every day, but be unwilling to work on that friendship that’s withering away. Neglect never leads to freedom.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s obsession. You know you’re obsessed with something: a book boyfriend, a real boyfriend, your exercise routine, the revolving word count door, or that thing you’ve got your fingers wrapped around that it can’t breathe because you need to control it. Being obsessed clutters your brain and stifles originality. Worse than that, it steals you away from all of the other wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) things in your life causing you to have Stockholm Syndrome toward what’s holding you hostage. You idolize a boy band, micromanage your best friend, or maybe you focus so hard on that one thing that everything else slips away until you’re all alone.
Consciously discovering your perfect measure of moderation can lead to freer you. You won’t be bound by the shackles of obsession or wandering through a forest of neglect. Moderation is like a well lit path. It still has its ups and downs, and the path may wind itself around obstacles, but you will get somewhere a lot faster with moderation. Some might argue that moderation isn’t equivalent to freedom, but then I’d ask them, when do you feel the most free? When are you in balance?