We all like to create lives with a sense of present security, but also a sense of future adventure. Sometimes this creates contradictions. After all, one cannot have full security, whilst also experiencing adventure. It is in the nature of adventure to interrupt security; and it is in the nature of security to hold back adventure.
To use the analogy of a garden… part of your life is like a garden that you manage all the time. You know how you like to live through a day, how you like to entertain yourself, when you like to feed yourself, and what routines give you comfort. This is like a gardener’s usual routine… the watering, the tidying up, the lawn-mowing.
But part of you is looking to the future, seeking to create a future life that’s just a little bit different. This is a different kind of gardening, and has a lot more planning in it. When gardeners plan, they get their sketchbooks out. They gather their thoughts on developments they want to make. They allow themselves to feel more radical about new designs.
MAINTENANCE TIME AND VISIONARY TIME
This gives rise to two types of time in your life.
Firstly, maintenance time is the way you keep existing routines going. It is characterised by:
Automatic routines that you are familiar with
A focus on keeping your immediate surroundings tidy
The avoidance of disturbance
The breaking of existing routines in favour of step changes
Allowing temporary mess and disturbance in the interests of those step changes
BALANCING ADVENTURE AND SECURITY
A wiser approach is to develop the capacity, in one integrated life, for both routine care and maintenance, and a bit of step-change and adventure.
It takes a bit of awareness to work out what suits. Many lives need to be 80 per cent maintenance, and 20 per cent adventure. It is easy to neglect adventure and development in such a life. You may need to set aside special time for newness and exploration.
How do I balance my life between my need for security, and my need for adventure? Do I spend enough time making the basics work, repairing things, building healthy routines, ‘taking care of the existing plants’? Equally, do I spend enough time doing next year’s design, and preparing to break a bit of new ground?
Am I a good gardener of my existing routines, watering at the right time, staying tidy, and keeping everything in order?
Equally, am I a good planner of the future, targeting key areas for improvement, and setting aside time to break the mould where appropriate?
It is hard to do both, but it is part of creating a life balanced with both security and adventure.