Saturday, June 05, 2010

Another Reprise: Life Theories

The Gnawing Hole Theory
It's time to pontificate. I have this ridiculous set of theories. Anyone who knows me, knows these theories as I came up with them years ago and I often use old material. But alas, to my secret blog fans, I now write them down. Crafted in an oral tradition...Kristen is a social butterfly. Born in a veritable soup of analogies and attempts to communicate abstract concepts...that Kristen is weird.

The Gnawing Hole Theory of Needs is really about growing up and wanting things and knowing that you need something, but not being able to figure out what that is. Everyone has one at some point in their life. Most of us struggle with them for years. This black hole of insecurity and emptiness is in each of us. For some of us, we fill it with drink or drugs or people or places.

Teens fill it with friends, boyfriends, clothes, and trendy things. Twenty-somethings look for it in love relationships, college grades, sex, career, friends, and material items. Thirty-somethings have a gnawing hole which is growing smaller as they age(thank goodness). We tend to stop stuffing things in there and acknowledge that there is a VOILA, it gets smaller. It's a beautiful thing to be 35.

Now, I am left thinking...does Elena have a gnawing hole yet? Is it created at birth? At weaning? Later? So many questions and things to observe in this child!

The Buckets Theory of Life Balance
Here's another kooky theory from that nutcase, Kristen. I have to admit to being a bit of a pompous ass. Imagine me thinking I can tell anyone anything about anything. After all, I know nothing myself. Most of my "theories" were just grasps at trying to explain to my therapist what the hell I was thinking. I think in analogies, so there you have it.

This is my Buckets Theory of Life Balance. I came up with it when I started dating my husband and wondered why my work life all of a sudden seemed empty. Why does it seem that when attention is paid to one area of our life, another area suffers a reign of disenchantment?

My answer to myself was this: life is a bunch of buckets. Your buckets can be anything you would like...But mine, mine are large crocks (not crocks of shit mind you, if that's where you think I am going). Teracotta crocks into which you cannot see. In these crocks is enough water to fill one crock fully. Or to fill each crock a bit.

Each crock stands for a different area of life: love, family, children, work, creativity, self, etc. It seems if one crock demands attention, and this can be for good or bad reasons, ALL the water, which symbolizes energy and thought and focus, gets poured into that ONE bucket. The other buckets are left desiccated...empty...abandoned. Oh, but like the arid ground embracing the return of the rainy season, their time will come again. They too have their day of being filled to the brim.

The Hedge Maze Theory of Parenting
Imagine if you will, our lives like a maze - a very complex hedge maze (you know the kind where you might wander around for hours hitting dead end after dead end). Then imagine if you already have mapped a good part of the maze yourself. You know where there are dead ends and false starts. There are certain ways you just know won't work.

Now, imagine seeing someone we love, struggling with a part of the maze that we have often struggled with ourselves. Don't we want to shout at them, "Hey, that's a dead end down there!" or "Turn around, you're heading nowhere?" Of course we do, it is natural. We want them to know what we know and offer them shortcuts through their life. If we could, we might just take a big mower and mow a path right through the center of the maze for them so it will be easy for them to find the other side.

As parents, we have to remember that it is our children's job to learn that maze themselves. We have to keep them safe and clothed, fed and loved, but we cannot make them go or stop at will. In fact, part of that hedge maze for them is learning to escape their parents' grasp. When they are little, they might duck out of sight for just a moment and they might come running back to the beginning to kiss us or tell us about their day. However, as they grow up, they may hide for days in that maze. We have to let them go and trust that, when they come out the other side, they will be smarter and more adept at "life" for it!

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