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Hot & Cold

I’m impressed by moderation. I appreciate it does not seem the most obvious sentiment to express, but the context is in being able to apply moderation as a way of life. If people possess a skill you do not feel you have there is a tendency towards one of two positions; to hate them for it or to be impressed by it. I find practising moderation difficult, so I am impressed with people who can and do live life with more balance. Usually I am either on or off, happy or sad, full of beans or ready for bed. I do not do inbetween, and as a result live with both the advantages and the drawbacks.

Helpfully for me I have disciplined and controlled people in my life or else I would be all over the place. Personally, I can go from one extreme to another in a matter of minutes. I am not good at hitting the sweet spot in the middle, at least not first time. I usually need at least three attempts to get it right – note, those who know me, have patience, please – probably best epitomised by my driving test experience which was the definition of ‘goldilocks’. First test failed largely on being too hesitant, second one failed on being too aggressive and third one passed as just right. There are other areas of my life that have taken a similar porridge temperature trajectory (although the bears have not come home to catch me, at least not yet). It would be nice to hit the sweet spot first time, but I suppose personally I need the practice.

What can bother me more is getting a handle on my swings of mood, and I suspect those close to me put up a lot with them too. I can get cross very quickly, but calm down just as fast. I also have a good line in panic, although on this one I have worked out that letting a minute or two of ‘oh goodness sake what do I do now?’ is often rewarded by a sustained follow up of cool practical thought and action as to best save the situation or at least initiate a decent attempt at damage limitation. I refer longer term readers to the Mount Fuji experience as a key example of turning something potential disastrous (and, to be honest, dangerous) into something that, as the cliché goes, you end up laughing about. Acting instinctively can be helpful at times, and at least you know what is going on with me, I’m terribly bad at hiding what I am feeling at any one time, unlike some whose inner thoughts and feelings are hidden behind a mask that really, really, should be in use playing high stakes poker, if they were not so disinclined.

Of course, both types work together. I get them to jump off the cliff into the clear, warm water when otherwise they’d probably never go, spending too much time considering whether it was worth it or not. Mind you, they’ve already paused long enough to take the time to (1) check that the water is deep enough for it to be safe and (2) checked that the sharks are not circling waiting for a free meal to drop in on them. A win-win scenario for us both I feel, and yes I feel annoyed with myself for using ‘win-win scenario’ in something not written about my corporate work life. Time to sign off when I’m behind, I feel…


This week’s soundtrack: ‘I Go to Extremes’ by Billy Joel, off the 1989 album ‘Storm Front’ – right back to being 18 and my first year at University.


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