Friday, January 23, 2009

The Virtues of Boring

No drama. Among the host of admirable qualities of our new president, that’s near the top of my favorites. It’s not that the draw of frenzy isn’t understandable. If anything, it’s too familiar, as until my personality and life stabilized with Michael, there was usually lots of drama in my existence. More than is comfortable to remember, if I’m honest. Even more cringingly, it was often to get attention. (Ick.) Over our years together, we’ve crafted a full and rich life that has few crises, emergencies and little high drama. It's not that we haven't had our ups and downs, and worked through some fundamental problems and differences. We have. It's just that the end result is that, by and large, we’re boring. While the external world has provided its share of tests and stress, everyday life behind our doors is usually quiet and predictable. As we were developing that equilibrium, in my work life, I was a practitioner of the famous Japanese inventory management style of just-in-time delivery, in part from trying to do too many things at once. Over the years, that’s receded as well, in favor of the larger beauty of anticipating, organizing and being prepared well in advance.

We’re now approaching a possible speed-bump that would introduce new elements into our everydayness, as there’s a young person who needs a place to stay while sorting some things out. Nothing has been settled yet, but thinking through the steps and changes that would be involved illuminates some otherwise taken-for-granted qualities of our lives. For one thing, we are really enjoying our time with Shea and increasingly aware of how fleeting this phase of our lives is. Adding an element to the mix now will abbreviate what’s been a great period for us. It will also add an element of short-term disorder that seems hard to contemplate on many levels. Leaving aside the ups-and-downs inevitably surrounding the situation leading to the need, there’s trepidation about what the new patterns at home will bring; the stimulation of change right now seems particularly costly in terms of my functioning, both cognitive and physical.

Today's concerns would not have existed a year ago and probably will not a year from now. But now is when the need exists and now is when we need to run this course, with these fences to be jumped. So we will figure it out, and in the meantime, here’s to the beauty of a low-key, calm and affectionate life that could be called boring by those addicted to adrenaline or turmoil.

With all that as background, let’s stop to appreciate and celebrate a leader who is centered, calm, focused and called to our moment. May the sun shine warmly on his face and the wind be at his back enough of the time to get through all that looms.

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