So I’m sitting in a tire and car repair place, having come in for an oil change and being told I need new tires.  Not a big surprise; the ride has been very rough lately.  But disappointing nonetheless as these current tires were supposed to last many thousands of miles longer than they have.  Hmm.  Won’t even go there.

Anyway, they’re just tires.  So even though it’s a cost I did not anticipate, it’s not a disease.  Or death.  Or something else that can’t be “fixed”.  But tires are important.  Without them, I can’t get anywhere (at least not in the society I live in).   And I need to be able to depend upon them.

But think about it.  How many things do we depend on to be there….people, jobs, health, friends…and one day, they suddenly aren’t?   Has it really been that long since we paid attention to them and examined them for any problems?  Has the road been that rough, that we were wearing them down for years without even knowing it?

Or maybe we just get used to the bumps, potholes and other challenges of covering ground day after day, week after week, year after year.  So we don’t notice when it really does get too slippery.  When we need to slow down and take stock of things.

When you’re young, you just assume everything is going to last.  Then you get older and look back and it’s sobering how many people have drifted away.  How your tastes have changed.  How you no longer consider staying up past midnight a thrill (or even a possibility).   Then there’s your body.  Wow.  Who knew you were actually going to age.  I mean, there should be an owner’s manual that helps with the maintenance of a body after 50.

Pain relievers.  Orthotics.  Reading glasses.  Knee wraps.  The tread gets a little thin.   Can’t take those corners quite as fast.  Little harder to see at night.  Maybe walking will burn as many calories as running.

And like a set of tires, we need balancing ever so many miles.  It’s so easy to get so caught up in day planners, meetings, calls, obligations, commitments, you name it.  I think back to pioneers who had breakfast, worked in the fields all day, had dinner, went to bed.  Granted, they didn’t live past 35.  But they also weren’t worrying about the text, the email, the instant message, the social media post or whether their cable provider is going to raise their rates.  Balance wasn’t an issue for them.

I think it is for us, and I think that getting older gives us the right to achieve balance any way we can.   And maybe, ironically, that means more time and space for us to just be…and less time worrying about all the other jazz.

I’ll leave here with a new set of tires, and the ride home will be much smoother.  Maybe I need to look at a few other areas of my life…check under the hood…and get things on a smoother road.  Cause I want to keep going for a long, long time.


“Happiness is not a matter of intensity, but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”

             Thomas Merton




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