self-management

An anchor in time, an anchor in weather

An anchor in time, an anchor in weather

All humans need an anchor.  Even the most footloose world travelers have some invisible ties that enable them to be free.  In the face of tumult and change, each of us learns to find reassurance and create order, whether by praying, playing the piano, or rearranging a room.  My manicurist tells me that she gets rid of stress by going shopping.

One of my anchors lies in my husband, who (unlike myself) is very habitual and has a keen sense of time.  The latter is a trait common to people who trade commodities as he does.

Perhaps his occupation also explains his keen interest in the weather, which for many of us supplies the day’s best occasion for contemplating the metaphysics of the universe in which we live.  Will it snow tomorrow?  Will the cold snap hold?  Will there be enough water to keep the Mississippi navigable next spring?  And if not, why?  The connections we make between weather and the human and cosmic order are almost as myriad as the times humans have used talking about the weather as a means of connecting with one another.

Nonetheless, I find it a little funny that we monitor the weather and find it reassuring.  We have thermometers in many of the rooms of our house, as well as a barometer (for measuring changes in atmospheric pressure) and a hygrometer (for measuring humidity) outside.  These instruments put numbers on what we are feeling, and somehow that is comforting because it suggests mastery and understanding of something that is actually uncontrollable, chaotic, and unknown.  If we feel low on a particular day, we can blame the barometer, and gird ourselves for the unexpected when it registers “Change.”

Uncertainty

Berries & bricks III (Credit: Celia Her City)

We all have our struggles.  I struggle with uncertainty.  I struggle with it because I don’t think I have to be this way, yet I’ve been this way my whole life, I believe.

There are legitimate grounds for being uncertain, but too much uncertainty cramps a personality.  Under certain circumstances, uncertainty can impede the sufferer from acting in a way that is appropriate and brave.  Because modern life involves many choices, uncertainty is a handicap when it comes to navigating the everyday.

Berries & bricks II (Credit: Celia Her City)

Sometimes, uncertainty arises from taking something trivial to be important.  How many really consequential decisions do we make in our lives?  A friend of my father’s once told me, “The only really important decisions you make are who to marry, how to earn a living, and what to do with your money.”  Do you think it’s true?

Berries and bricks I (Credit: Celia Her City)

Uncertainty may come from thinking too much.  In this way, great practical or philosophical weight may come to be attached to what is only immediate and discrete.  Social and aesthetic preoccupations may get in the way of what is intuitive and truest to oneself.

It’s enough to make one envy the misshapen tree, gloriously growing every which way, laden with the most beautiful berries, its irregular shape fairly reeking with charm.