I’m madly cramming for a work deadline. So of course, I go and put a blog post together here instead. But while I was reading a bunch of jargon, I came across this:
‘don’t let your entire life hinge on one element’’ (Niven 2000, p. 71).
He asserts: ‘‘Your life is made up of many different facets. Don’t focus on one aspect of your life so much that you can’t experience pleasure if that one area is unsettled. It can become all you think about, and it can deaden your enjoyment of everything else—things you would otherwise love (p. 71).’’
And it stuck in my head. How true is that?! Clever dude.
Sometimes we put all our eggs in one basket. At times inadvertently, other times deliberately. But basically what strikes me about that is if we put everything into one single thing, we’re going to be unbalanced, and other areas are then going to suck.
One prime example comes to mind for me. Now, let’s take this one gently, because it can ruffle some feathers. Parents who live through their kids. They put everything into being a parent, they forsake other areas of their life for their kids, and you know what happens? Their kids grow up, they fly the coop (as they should), and parents are left feeling empty. They cling to their kids, and their kids get fed up and get the f outta dodge. For realz. The number one thing I’d see when I worked in high schools was parents who weren’t ready to take a few eggs out of the kid basket and kids who became resentful. It was a bad cycle.
No one is disputing that kids are a big part of life, but they can’t be the one element we hinge our lives on. Same with work. While work takes up a huge chunk of life, and we like to take a sense of pride and identity with what we do, if that’s our one element, then what the hell are we going to do when it’s gone?
Did you know the highest rate of divorce actually occurs when people retire? Because. Eggs in one basket. People get so caught up putting their eggs into their children, their careers etc (sounds a bit wrong when you put it like that, doesn’t it?), that when the kids are gone and the job is done, they look at each other and think ‘omg who the hell are you?’
Sometimes when we hold things up so closely to our faces, we go cross eyed. We can’t see what’s around us- we can only see this blurred mush in front of us. We need to just pull that thing back a bit so we can see the other great things that are around.
Our lives need to be a bit like a page from Where’s Wally. We need to be able to have the perspective to look at a bunch of things. Sure, sometimes we have to focus on smaller areas, because they need our attention. But if we only look at one section of the page, we’re not going to find Wally.
That clever dude Niven? He’s got a nifty little book out- and I found a naughty little pdf of it right here. Handy little thing to flick through.
Have you ever been caught out with all your eggs in the one basket? Or are you more of a ‘I play the field with my eggs’ kind of person?