“Owning my own home symbolizes so much to me. I have been my happiest when I have been in my very own place and I am really looking forward to that. Stability and routine are vital to us in our day to day life … so moving in is really going to settle us down for a while and i will find a lot of peace of mind in that.”
I often believe we confuse stability and consistency, regardless, stability is an interesting topic. Its very personal to each person <and it always surprises me a little when someone assumes what is important to them for ‘stability’ should be, or is, the same for everyone else>. I also believe how you define stability kind of defines you <in a way>.
A good friend just bought a home after struggling through several years and wrote the above quote. Stability, and all the things associated with it, reentered the world for this person. Anyway. It made me think about how important stability is to, well, everyone – at least in some form or fashion. I tend to believe we seem to find stability in our work lives fairly well and fairly easily. Stability in work is rarely what you may think is obvious. For stability is not really a ‘safe’ job <in terms of employment security>, it is actually what we naturally gravitate to in terms of the daily ‘to do’s’ of what we do. Frankly, it is the things that come most easily to us and the things we like to do at work.
Stability in the workplace is found in the form of comfort in a couple of things:
- knowing what you are doing
- knowing you are doing it well <or competently>
- knowing what you do means something to someone
It ain’t money. It ain’t job security. It is about the actual ‘doing’ where the strongest stability is found <because it is actually transferable & movable>. Everyone should note I emphasized ‘doing’ because this is at the heart of ‘work.’ I debate with anyone that people do not have to work to gain some meaning. Work is ‘doing’ <with multiple feedback mechanisms which provide value cues intrinsically & extrinsically>.
Anyway. For some odd reason it seems tougher to find this easy stability in real life. I tend to believe that happens because of ‘over stimulation’ <Life clutters us with responsibilities & worries & a nonstop schedule of ‘possible things to do’>.
Regardless. Whether we recognize it or not we build, or seek to build, some stability into our lives, i.e., something or some things that provides a steadying influence. I am not talking about money. I am talking about something, or somethings, that emotionally settle us so that we can deal with all the other crap that is going on around us.
It is important, and I would suggest, almost vital to have some emotional stability because it is from that which we leverage and make progress <in Life & business>.
All that said. When I heard my friend was buying a house, and what it meant, it made me think of several things:
– How everyone builds some type of stability onto their lives <or it would be sheer chaos>
– What is my stability
– My uncomfortable relationship with permanence <and how I, and not everyone else, has that uncomfortable relationship>
Building stability in Life
Everyone has some stability. And everyone pretty much defines it very personally. Sure. We can be flippant when asked; our house <home>, our family <or parents>, our loved ones is typically the knee jerk response.
And sometimes it is the real truth. It’s easy. It makes sense. But sometimes it is not the obvious. Sure. We thought it was an easy answer, but it is not. Look. I am not telling you what your stability answer is I’m just suggesting it may be deeper than you think.
William Blake said … “I wouldn’t bind myself to a joy, I would kiss the joy as it flew.”
That’s as close to a definition for this version of stability that I could find.
Regardless. We all seek and, I imagine, have ‘some’ stability in our lives. We may create it mentally and always go ‘home’ to it when we need to steady ourselves or it may be something tangible like a home or a person or a thing. Whatever it is that stability actually defines us. Yeah, yeah, yeah … someone will argue with me on this and I will probably get a nasty <but smart> note from a psychologist or behavioral expert reader, but in my simple mind how we define our stability is a reflection of something deep inside us. Either a Maslow thing <self esteem, self actualization, self-whatever> or simply something that given our past experiences <good or bad> that settles us into a ‘good place’ mentally.
This place, or thing, provides comfort, maybe happiness, but most absolutely represents the calm eye in the hurricane of Life.
Bottom line? We all have something that stabilizes us. Figure it out and you at least know something really really valuable about yourself.
What my stability is.
When I thought about this it was a simple answer – books <and yes this will ultimately lead me to my uncomfortable relationship with permanence>. I find comfort in words and how the words make me think and feel and expand my experiences thru fictional & non fictional lives & stories. I find comfort in sifting thru the real & the unreal to formulate some Life truths, well, at least my Life truths.
I don’t need a home. I don’t need a high falutin’ title. I just need some books. That is my stability.
For a period of time I thought my dog was my stability … he was a rock of support in Life. Instead I found he simply complimented my Life during the amazing time he was with me. He transitioned me from one point in my life to another and, possibly, in some weird way he tried to remind me of my true stability because throughout his life the only thing he consistently chewed on when I wasn’t around were the corners of books. To this day I have dozens of books with just one corner chewed off.
Maybe he had a comfortable relationship with my stability and found stability in my stability.
I know. Sounds odd, but pets often have a way of showing you things that you don’t really see about yourself <note: point of that little story was you can uncover your stability in a variety of ways>.
Regardless. I am certain this personal insight clearly makes me, well, two things I imagine.
First. A nomad. I’m willing to walk through life anywhere at any time as long as I have a books in hand. My stability is transient able to go wherever I go. In fact, I imagine standing still too long in one place makes me feel uncomfortable & possibly even unstable.
Second. Maybe I’m a sick person. Say what?
Maybe I have a sick mind that always needs assistance to stay healthy rather than have healthy mind that seeks to feed itself with nutrition <because just as I eat some crappy food I certainly read some crappy stuff>.
Interesting thought. But hey … anyone who admits that their stability could possibly fit in their pocket for god’s sake probably has some mental issues don’t they?
My uncomfortable relationship with permanence.
Ok. This is probably most embodied in the fact that I don’t have a tattoo <and most people would guess that I would have one>, but instead I think I will reflect upon my choice for what gives me stability – my books. They are an impermanent permanent feature in my life. They easily travel and I can have hundreds, heck, thousands of which to pick up and put down and read and reread. Stability, to me, in the traditional sense, well, I have always equated with stagnancy.
Is that fair? Probably not, but it is what I have in my pea like brain.
It may be that I have moved so many times in my life, made some friends and met some fabulous amazing people in each place, and have gone back and while the people are still amazing … the place is … well … emptier. Nathaniel Hawthorne said it best:
“… they resolved to go back to their own land; because the years have a kind of emptiness when we spend too many of them on a foreign shore. But … if we do return, we find that the native air has lost its invigorating quality, and that life has shifted its reality to the spot where we have deemed ourselves only temporary residents.
Thus, between two countries, we have none at all.”
Now. I certainly admit that if I ever stopped moving maybe the spot wouldn’t shift its reality … or maybe I would shift with it and therefore it wouldn’t lose its invigorating quality. But. In my nomad world I have discovered you just cannot go back. You can go back to memories <which are great> but you cannot go back to a place.
All that said my permanence is found in books. Which I imagine suggests that my permanence is lurking somewhere in my mind … traveling with me wherever I go.
I envy people who find stability in whatever type of permanence they have.
But I don’t envy them enough to give up my sense of stability and permanence.
I have tried their permanence and it has failed for me.
I have no clue what that says about me from a psychological standpoint and I am fairly sure I don’t want to know.
In the end.
I realized how I defined my stability said a lot about me and what is important to me. I don’t recommend a lot of self reflection, but this seems like a valuable use of someone’s time. I believe its valuable because I would assume if you haven’t clearly defined what makes you feel stable you run the risk of not having the platform you need to leverage from to be, and do, the best you can be & do.
I would also guess you run the risk of feeling adrift on occasion and not really knowing why.
Take a moment and think about how you define stability. Go below the obvious and really think about it. It seems important.