We all people, events, and situations in our lives, who (or which) determine the teeter of our life’s teeter-tooter. Writing about the fulcrums in our lives provides a unique glimpse into our circumstances and relationships with and affections for each other. Who and what is capable of righting our balance or off-set our personal system of weights and measures.
You remember fulcrums from science class, right?
Children as Fulcrums in our Lives
Family inevitably affects and often determines our equilibrium. Perhaps nothing changes the scales as much as the birth or adoption of a child. In Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son’s First Year, Anne Lamott expressed that kick-in-the-gut feeling of love that throws our world view out of orbit:
No one tells you that your life is effectively over when you have a child: that you’re never going to draw another complacent breath again…
You know all the expressions, aka truisms. “A mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child.” You also know the realities that haven’t yet been translated into pat phrases. A gooey kiss that makes your heart sing. A sleeping face that fills you with equal measures of love and relief that the little mouse is finally still and, for the moment, demanding nothing.
Beyond the normal ways that children set (upset?) life balances, some situations definitely alter our fulcrum’s placement. A child with a serious or terminal illness. Special needs that exhaust the family’s finances and caregivers. A diagnosis that means they’ll never grow up to live the life you’ve reamed for them.
Sometimes our fulcrums aren’t a who. They’re a what. The sudden-onset of a “new normal.” A limitation or talent that influenced your choices. A commitment you made. The place or environment in which you live. Writing about these types of fulcrums in our lives help us tell the story of our life journey.
Types of Fulcrums
Unexpected events: Things which change that stable plank of our existence into a see-saw.
Displacement: If you think back to science class, you know that when the fulcrum is off center, a light force can counter balance a heavy weight, acting as a lever of sorts. These fulcrums change our priorities, redefine normal and our dreams.
Precipitous fulcrums: The people or situations keep our teeter tottering. They create a fragile balance. We keep our knees bent to prevent a painful landing because the slightest shift in balance sends us flying. These precipitous fulcrums can be difficult personalities, situations, or something such as anxiety or depression.
Stable fulcrums: Our proverbial “rocks” that add stability to life. Especially those of us who tend to wander off track, dream and take spontaneity to the max, these even-keeled influences keep us from bouncing off the end.
Take out a pen and paper and draw yourself some ideas of your life’s fulcrums. Who and what are they? How do they impact you and your personal see-saw? Write and share. I’d love to hear your thoughts.