Life’s pendulum

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user Joe Buckingham)

Someone once told me that life is often filled with pendulums. You know, literally like the old-fashioned clocks? Think about it…to start the pendulum, you have to drag it to one side pretty far and when you let go, it swings just as far to the opposite side. With each swing, the span gets smaller, smaller and smaller. Less extreme.

Isn’t that how life is? When we swing to one direction too far and realize oops, that’s not good, don’t we almost panic and swing too far to the other side? I know I do. As time goes on, I learn better and more appropriate balance in life between the two extremes. It’s a roller coaster ride until that happens!

I know I’ve done that countless times in my life but I’m trying to think of an example I feel like sharing! I think in general, I find myself “riding the pendulum” in relationship matters. As I shared in my recent post about coming out of a deep depression, I found myself constantly griping at my husband about …. everything until it drove the poor man a little crazy. Once I realized I was doing that, I pretty much stopped telling him about my day at all. Neither approach is healthy!

We’ve worked on a healthy approach to this and I think I have a balance now of sharing with him what’s going on in my world without turning it all into a constant gripe fest. It’s not about balance between, like, making sure you say two nice things for every negative thing. That’s just stupid and impractical. It’s more about realizing what I was doing with the griping…that I was taking my major frustrations with one or two aspects of my life and connecting them to the other, much smaller frustrations in life. This made all the frustrations much bigger-and constant-than they needed or deserved to be.

I see this trend in society all the time. I’ll probably lose some readers for this, but I see this as what’s happening with the women’s lib movement. I 100 percent agree that women were not valued in our society and men ruled the place. But in our quest to help women find equality, we’ve pushed men to the gutter. Think about it. If you make a joke about a man, it’s funny. It’s funny and almost expected to put them down for … being men. But if you make a similar joke about a woman, saying that she’s a certain (usually negative) way because she’s female, you’re considered a Neanderthal.

I think that while the intent of the women’s lib movement started out as good, we as a society have found ways to not make women equal with men by elevating women, we’ve done so by pushing men down. Not only is that wrong, it will come back to bite us some day when we as a society realize we’ve screwed up. And all for what? Are women consistently paid the same as their male counterparts? No. Is there not still a sense of low self esteem that we as women feel the need to overcome by proclaiming our blatant sexuality in advertising and in other forms? You betcha.

The whole idea of political correctness is a huge example of society riding the pendulum. We got too crass, too unthinking about other people’s feelings so we’ve now swung to the other side. Getting offended is almost a full-time job for some people. We can’t say what we really think (in a country where we have the constitutional right to free speech?!?!?) because it might ruffle feathers. How is that productive? It’s not, it’s stupid.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for using language and whatnot that honors other people and is respectful. Our language reflects what we think, feel and believe. If you use a slur, it’s usually because you have a negative attitude towards that person or thing (or sometimes you truly don’t realize it’s a slur…yes, that does happen).

But here’s my thing, not only have we become too anal, too careful, I don’t think that changing our language changes attitudes. And guess what, I’m “allowed” by this society to have that opinion because, as a person with a disability, I’m in one of the minority groups that continues to fight wrong attitudes covered by platitude language. I’m actually more offended when people call me “differently abled” rather than just saying “handicapped.” (I mean really, differently abled? Are you so in need to force through your brain that I’m a person of value that you can’t just acknowledge that I’m disabled and that I’m OK with it? This whole idea of using sappy language is more about making the word user feel better about themselves because they think the person about whom they are speaking needs the same pep talk.)

Back to my point…

So I guess what I’m saying is, as we look at the pendulums in life, it seems more important to figure out why you swung to one side or what you were trying to do in doing so. That’s part of the process of finding a healthy balance of swings somewhere in the middle.

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