The See-Saw of Stability
All our life, we strive for stability. We sacrifice sleep and recreation for a better tomorrow. We sacrifice health to afford ample food. We sacrifice social life to make our families happy. We set goals and we work so hard to achieve them. We push ourselves into a burning fire hoping to come out firm and strong. So much for stability!
But, does stability ever come along?
If I ask you, ‘are you alive?’ How will you prove it to me that you are?
You’d say, my heart is beating, my chest is rising and falling, I can move around, of course I am alive!
If I dig deeper to the molecular mechanics of life, the gas exchange, the energy production and consumption, the cellular metabolism and the electron level changes that constantly keep taking place inside our bodies; and project all these molecular activities on a computer screen you’d be amazed at the tremendous amount of movement that never ceases within us.
What does this state about us?
It says, being alive means constant mobility. It means change. A change that could occur in 1/10th of a second too. It says that only death is stable. Only death is finite. Only death stops the infinite activities that go on inside us.
So until you die, you cannot be stable!
If the analogy confuses you, if you think that stability does knock on certain doors then go back and ask these so called hosts of stability, are their minds at peace? Does nothing bother them? There is no emotional void? There is no annoyance? No negativity? Not even the mundane routine and the inevitable monotony?
They’d always have something which wasn’t worth giving up to be where they are.
Don’t we know so many white collar professionals who would pay any amounts of money just to be healthy enough to enjoy what they’ve earned? Are we not aware of the lone wolves who manage to put up a very firm exterior all day but get wasted away in bars at night because they have no one to go home to? Have we not heard of the rave culture where there is too much money to spend but nothing worth buying so people try to buy ecstasy?
So, it is obvious. If you have one kind of stability, you look for another. Emotions take a back seat when in competition with an empty stomach. A full stomach does not equate with a full heart. And when everything gets way too perfect, monotony hits in like a spark over a volatile liquid. The mind gets attracted to what is new. It denies to remain in its mechanical sphere of life. The adventure and thrill of a new goal, a new aim and a new entity is so appealing that man offers his stability for execution under a guillotine.
Satisfaction is against human nature and all the attempts to force him into it only generate bigger rebellions.
Though I am portraying the wild and unsatisfied human nature with grace, it mostly brings regrets and shame to humanity! We are all so bound to get distracted while chasing things we do not possess that we almost always make mistakes. And we almost always neglect what we have.
We’ve not learned to be thankful. We count our blessings only till we’re not bored of them. We crave home cooked food when we’re away from home but when we lived there we always fought with our parents to take us to restaurants. We keep on cursing our schools and colleges while we are a part of them and as soon as we step out, we become nostalgic. We hate our jobs, but we hate being jobless too. The lust driven cheating and then wanting the real love back, the trashing your mom over a difference of opinion but needing her by your side anyway, the love-hate relationship with the siblings, and a whole lot of other antithesis and paradoxes!
This is what we are. Unstable atoms of this universe.
And we are going to stay that way!
This doesn’t mean that the quest of stability is futile. Nor does this mean that we should quit trying. We were not engineered to quit. We were designed to learn, explore and evolve. We are going to make mistakes. There is no denying that. We are going to lose more than we win. Love more than we are loved. Invest more than we would get in return. Err more than excel. But, we just have to go on.
Stability is the goal but it can be modified. Can we not aim to stay stable in our heads? Can we not aim to maintain the balance of our little universes by caring for what we have along with wanting what we don’t? Does ambition always have to make us push ourselves into a burning fire with only a small hope of coming out stronger? Instead of dying inside an inferno, can we not just build a bridge over the fire and be careful not to fall?
All our life, we strive for stability. But we keep looking for it in the wrong places. We obsess too much over what we don’t have that by the time we achieve it, we have lost what already belonged to us. It is a vicious cycle or shall I say see-saw of instability. However, it is time we learn to balance it mid-air. Because, on a see-saw if one side backs off, the other side falls with a damaging velocity.