From time to time things will come up in life for all of us that can require unplanned time and energy to resolve. These situations can even create anxiety and feel like an additional burden in an already stressful life; it can feel like we have a new “problem” that must be resolved before regular life can continue. Do you remember the last time you felt that way? When those feelings come up, ask yourself: Is this a problem, or just a maintenance issue? Generally, the answer is “maintenance.” When you come to appreciate that a main focus of your life is maintenance, maintenance issues don’t feel so threatening as they surface from time to time. For example, when was the last time that changing the oil in your car really felt like an overwhelming burden? Even it it felt like an inconvenience at the time, you realized that it was small in comparison to the potential complications from failing to change the oil- a total engine replacement! How inconvenient would that be? Like changing your car’s oil, regular maintenance to the various aspects of “Project You” can prevent these unexpected situations from causing additional burdens, becoming bigger problems.
So much maintenance can feel at times like spinning plates. In your mind’s eye, a comedy performance stage in which the entertainer spins many plates on vertical sticks aligned on stands. He gets one plate spinning at a time and then moves quickly back and forth, giving each plate additional momentum to keep them all spinning. As he notices a plate start to wobble, he rushes over to it to keep it spinning. While he’s giving that plate his attention, other plates begin to wobble… and the show continues on. Can you see how that provides a picture for the maintenance in our lives?
You may have many plates spinning at this moment- Your relationship with your spouse, your relationships with your children, your job, your fitness, etc. At times any one of those plates may show signs of “wobbling.” What you do at that point is absolutely critical to how the “show” will unfold. Most of the time, when something goes wrong in life, like an argument with our spouse or a bad performance evaluation at work, we may easily feel like that plate is shattered. In reality, however, the situation is only a case of needing to give that area a little extra focus to get it spinning again. Don’t be surprised when you must move on to directing focused attention to another area of life. The key is to never give up! If you feel like an area of life is important, keep giving it attention periodically to keep it spinning.