Search This Blog

Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Making a Better Chili: Adding an ingredient, not replacing the chili.

In talking to a family member recently, I was reminded of something.  A good while back, I was talking to that family member who felt like I was giving them the short shrift.  The family member felt like I was putting my own life needs ahead of attention to family.  I tried explaining that if I was in a good/better place with my own life balance/piece of mind, then I would be able to find more and/or better time for them.   As you might imagine by the tone of this post so far, they didn't understand where I was coming from.

It became clear to me that that the person felt like I was shutting them out to focus on my own life to the relative exclusion of them.  It never really occurred to me that way.  The way it occurred to me is I felt my life balance was near where it should be, then I'd be more energized.  Imagine the commercial for the Energizer Bunny compared to other toy bunnies fueled by another battery.   The Energizer Bunny has limitless energy to anything and to go anywhere, while the other bunnies slowly wind down and eventually lose their energy to do anything.  The person in question felt like they were being ignored, but instead of ignoring them, I was working to make sure my life balance was in the proper order.  This would give me better energy, just like the Energizer batteries gave the bunny more stamina.  So, it struck me, how do I explain this in a way that effectively conveys it and I came up with an answer.

I like to cook chili.  IMHO, a good chili mixes multiple ingredients: black beans, chili beans, diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes, etc.--I won't give away all my ingredients.  Anyway, you can create something and call it chili and as a practical matter it can be deemed to be chili.  But, if it is missing an important ingredient or two it can come off as very bland and could be less nourishing.  Yes, you can eat it and it will fill you, but it won't be very satisfying, nourishing, nor will you want to go back for seconds.   Add the right ingredient or two and the formerly bland unsatisfying chili will be the popular.   The chili will be filling and satisfying and have your audience rushing for extra helpings.  Think of chili as a metaphor for life balance. Anyway, below are examples of possible 'missing' ingredients in life balance.  

A few examples:
  • If you are struggling with getting along or quality time with your family of origin, then it can tend to bleed onto other aspects of your life--marriage, job, relationship with your own kids (their relatives).
  • If you are struggling with your job, you may tend to feel defeated and that can spill into other parts of your life, especially if there are any other parts feeling unsettled.
  • If you are struggling with friendships (or lacking them or not having good healthy ones), it can sour your mood at home, on the job or elsewhere.
  • If you are struggling with money, it can keep you on edge, especially when money is required, talked about or compared.  This cause you to focus too much on money to the exclusion of other important aspects of your life and/or cause you to be short in dealing with others in your life.
  • If you don't have a good home life, that's a huge foundational crack that can affect the foundation of all parts of your life.
In each case above, your life balance (chili) is missing an ingredient (healthy family or origin, work, friendships, money, marriage/relationship family, ...).  Yes, you might have what you can call chili and it might be enough to sustain you, but it won't be a chili that is satisfying, keeps you coming back for more or gives you the energy to power you through the rest of the day.  The more ingredients that are missing, the less nourishing or satisfying the chili is.  At some point, the chili may not even be tolerable and you just eat it to be able to simply survive.

Anyway, when I explained to the family member in question, I think they got a better handle on what I was saying.  I wasn't trying to short shrift them.  I was trying to make sure I had a good life balance such I would be more energized (getting what I need accomplished more quickly/effectively CREATING more time).  This would also help the time I would set aside for them to be quality time, not time focused on any missing ingredients.  In other word, I wasn't trying to replace them like replacing a chili for a burger.  Instead I was trying to improve my life balance, by adding the proper ingredients in my life.  Just like trying to make a better chili. 

So, with the fall quickly approaching and the peak chili season gradually approaching, consider your  life balance like chili.  Does your chili have the right ingredients and are they quality ingredients?  If not, can you get the missing ingredients?  Can you make sure all the ingredients work together rather than having new ingredient seemingly replacing another?  If so, you are on your way to making a good chili (life balance) suitable to be seen in a 'cookoff'. 

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Take on Me: A take on romance and romanticism.

I recently heard A-ha's Take On Me and I've heard it on the many times before, on the radio and on TV. I've heard it in pop culture and seen it in parody. I always thought it had a nice sound and intriguing video but I never really thought too much about it until... I was driving home and the song came on my Satellite Radio and I felt a little sadness. So, what do you when a song brings out sadness? You play it over and over again of course. HA.

Well, I played it over and over and listened to the words and later watched the video and it struck me as a song of young romance where you don't overthink everything and you go all in with your heart. To me it represents where the future is open with possibilities and love and romance haven't been sidetracked with the daily grind of raising children or poisoned by cynicism or jadedness brought on by failure.  To me, it represents where you take chances and give of your heart without reservation and without overthinking it.

The young woman in the video is intensely following the young hero of the comic book adventure which shows him racing and winning a motorcycle sidecar race. Unfortunately, he had two opponents who had no good in mind for him and who are very unhappy that he won. Anyway, she's following the race closely and she then follows his celebrating the win. In the process of celebrating, he seemingly looks at her.  He then unmistakably winks at her from the pages of the comic, catching her attention. It is as if her interest and dreaminess about him and his story somehow crossed the 2D barrier and into the story. In other words, he feels her longing and he shares it and that crossed some of spiritual boundary. So, he extends his hand out of the strip inviting her in.  After the initial shock wears off, she decides to pursue what her heart wants and lets him pull her in. They court each other to music in strip with a mirror that brings their 3D nature to life. Their courtship is abruptly interrupted by the two thugs that are none too happy with him. The couple runs off together. They run into a dead end with the thugs menacing them. Like a true romantic, he opens the portal back into the 'real world' allowing her to escape while putting himself in mortal danger. The young woman had been reading the comic strip book at a booth in a restaurant but had seemingly disappeared to her server.  When her server came back and didn't see her there, she assumed the young woman had stiffed her the comic strip book in the trash in anger. But having been brought back to the 'real world', the young woman now to the shock of other patrons and her server, abruptly appeared by the trash. Embarrassed and wanting to see what became of her love interest, she rushed home and uncrumbled the comic strip book. Reading ahead, her hero appeared to lifeless after the brawl with thugs, causing her to cry.  In the boxes that follow, she sees him struggling to break out of the strip and into the 3D world. He was banging back and forth against the walls until, he stabilized as in 3D world.  He finally succeeds and she rushes to embrace him, lovingly.  Anyway, anyone who grew up with their music, knows what I speak of.

 A few themes in song and video caught my attention.
  • She is open to love and giving of herself, even when there is a risk to it.  She is open to taking chances.  He sings, "...Say after me, it's no better to be safe than sorry..."   By virtue of her following the opening he gave her, she shows this.  This shows her a romantic side.
  • Love is selfless.   The hero of the strip knew that his 3D love interest was at risk to be severely injured.  However, he helped her escape as the thugs were approaching him, putting himself at mortal risk.   To me this is a very romantic notion.
  • Love can cross what society deems is proper or realistic.  I touched upon this in another post called The heart doesn't care what is proper...  By all accounts, this couple should have never been.  They were constrained by the boundaries of real life vs. fantasy and 2D vs. 3D, but somehow, someway each was able to feel and reach across their boundaries and connect.  Griping romance stories are built on having to fight against the odds and obstacles to be able to get the one you love.
  • Love is hopeful.  The video ends with her embracing the hero when he finally is able to successfully transition into the 3D real world.   You get the sense the future is theirs for the taking.
While I was a little sad realizing that the younger carefree days of relationships have passed as kids, responsibilities and just life's difficulties can get in the way, I've come to accept that love isn't just built on living in the carefree days of youth.  Love can start there, but for it to flourish, it must go through the ups and downs and the impact of everyday life to solidify it.  You can always look back on the 'carefree days', but as I explored in Wanting to be somewhere else in our lives and the role of faith, inevitably I believe it is common that no matter where we are in our lives, we can always locate somewhere else that we'd want to be.  If you are young, you want to be older.  If you are single you want to be attached, if you are attached, you focus on the the carefree nature of being single, etc.  In other words, it's okay to think about the 'carefree days', but it's only a place to vacation.  😏

So, without further ado: