Life Hangs in the Balance

This morning R says she’s feeling “off”, as in “off her game.” Which is interesting, because yesterday was probably the first in a while in which I DIDN’T really feel off. Begets the question of whether or not we put each other off our respective games by being on our own games; put another way, does my being ‘on’ consequently make her feel ‘off’? OR does me being ‘off’ make her MORE LIKELY TO BE ‘on’? What, if anything, is the causal relationship between the balance we seem to be finding?

In the first case, of me being on making her feel off, I would go back to my post on social comparison: she’s observing me and her behavior or attitude is changed in some way by that observation, and that cause is rooted in the human fear of death. (Read here if you didn’t quite make that leap with me.)

In the second case, of one of us being ‘off’ causing the other to try a lot harder & therefore succeed at feeling or being on, I would say this is actually why we’re getting married: because we are already thinking of each other as a unit, as a family, as the same person. Individual as we may be, we have begun the inevitable process of merging our survival instincts. While I won’t speak for her, I can say that I feel I’m a better stronger version of myself when we’re both on the upswing or near the crest of the cycles (lunar, hormonal, or professional) that invariably describe our lives. Those shared peaks, while not frequent, are pretty awesome.

Whatever the cause of what appears to be a trading off between the two of us, the net effect of one of us being off, the other being on, or to stick with the cycle analogy, one of us in the trough and the other at the crest, is that we, as a unit, are balanced. That we as a unit are approaching a steady-state, that we can be secure as a unit in spite of being at opposite poles at any point in time. No matter how low or high one of us might be, we take comfort in knowing the other one is at the other side, and taken together as a unit, we’re balanced.

Imagine being on a roller-coaster that’s climbing steadily up its hill, chug-a-chug-a-chug-a, clack-clack-clack-clackclackclack-clack-clack… silence as you reach the peak and you know what’s coming next, sh-sh-sh-whoooooooooooooooooooooooooosh.

That shit is scary if you just don’t like rollercoasters or if you’re by yourself. But when you get to look in the seat next to you and see someone you know going through the EXACT same thing, that you can count on them being just as freaked as you are, there’s a sense of relief: if you die, they’re dying too & you’ll approach your respective after-lives at the same time; if you survive, you can wipe your eyes clear of tears & laugh & catch your breath together afterward and then tease about who screamed louder or who barfed first. Either way you’re not alone, but you’re part of a unit.

We’re not always choosing to wait in line for the same car, but I do feel like R and I are on the same ride, climbing the same hills, facing the same sh-whooooooooooooooooooosh, and no matter what happens, we’re both getting there together.

That’s a better feeling than surviving chug-a-chug-sh-sh-whooooooooooooooosh.

Also, competing analogies.

Learn anything yet?

NOTE: Today is National Talk Like A Pirate Day.