We are not swans.

How much does your life weigh? Imagine for a second that you’re carrying a backpack. I want you to pack it with all the stuff that you have in your life… you start with the little things. The shelves, the drawers, the knickknacks, then you start adding larger stuff. Clothes, tabletop appliances, lamps, your TV… the backpack should be getting pretty heavy now. You go bigger. Your couch, your car, your home… I want you to stuff it all into that backpack. Now I want you to fill it with people. Start with casual acquaintances, friends of friends, folks around the office… and then you move into the people you trust with your most intimate secrets. Your brothers, your sisters, your children, your parents and finally your husband, your wife, your boyfriend, your girlfriend. You get them into that backpack, feel the weight of that bag. Make no mistake your relationships are the heaviest components in your life. All those negotiations and arguments and secrets, the compromises. The slower we move the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living. Some animals were meant to carry each other to live symbiotically over a lifetime. Star crossed lovers, monogamous swans. We are not swans. We are sharks.

Have you filled up that backpack yet? Now, try to move.

I have never thought about my life in terms of “what I can afford to lose” until now. Is my backpack too full? Am I weighing myself down to the point where I can barely walk, or relax?

After some thought, I realized the answer was no.

For the first time in my life, I feel balance. I have just the right amount of close friends, casual friends, family ties, work hours per week, money in the bank, bills to be paid, things to be done…etc. It seems like balance has found me at the perfect time, because I have definitely known the days of being so weighed down by life that I could hardly walk. Read any journal entry of mine from a year ago, two years ago, six years ago…they’re all saying the same thing.

I really wonder though, how many other people feel weighed down? How many of my other friends feel the strain of their jobs, their relationships, their friendships? How many of them are constantly wanting/needing more then what they have, and are feeling the pressures of having money versus paying bills? How many people do I know who are carrying too much on their shoulders, but know no other way, so they continue on because “that’s life, whatever”?

It wasn’t too long ago when I realized that everything wasn’t a struggle. I can talk about it until I’m blue in the face (and I feel like I have), but it won’t make any difference, people need to learn on their own. We are not swans.

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