When I was growing up, there was a decent chunk of time where I really wanted to be an architect. Building things held a real fascination for me and the genesis of this was likely my complete and utter Lego obsession (something I’m really happy to see has been taken up by my nephews).
My Saturday mornings often fit a very neat pattern in those simpler days. I would get up, go downstairs and pull out of the family room closet a good-sized draw string denim bag that was chock full of those magical plastic bricks. I would open the bag up and gently spread the pieces in front of me on the floor so I could build while engaging in my other favorite Saturday activity: watching cartoons (especially the Super Friends).
Legos taught me an important early lesson, although I did not truly appreciate that teaching until many years later: anything of substance you wish to build first requires a strong, consistent foundation. Without that foundation on which to rely, you’re just setting yourself up for some kind of collapse and with it all the pretty things you built upon that weak foundation.
What I love about the analogy is how well it works in several contexts. It applies for buildings (as in this photo for a 33 story tower as it was being built in Philadelphia) or sports teams or relationships or just that little corner of the world you call your own life. If you don’t have some goals or guiding principles or common understanding or shared values, you will find little success or what success you do achieve is only eked out through pure strenuous effort and bullheadedness. Not exactly the best use of time or energy, methinks.
I started thinking about foundations the other day because I’ve been in a bit of a funk of late. Nothing incredibly extreme, mind you, but not a ton of fun any way you slice that bad boy. Part of the reason you can tell I’ve been in a funk is the utter dearth of blog postings popping up here. I’ve not been feeling (or probably acting) all that fierce or mighty. So, the other night I tried to settle in for a bit of thinking time without distraction… and uhh… that’s actually a bit hard. Anyone with a Droid, iPhone or Blackberry will know the feeling – it’s like you are just so damn connected, you’ve forgotten how to disconnect yourself, even for a little while (unless you are asleep and even then you’re probably having dreams of apps and snarky text messages).
Often when life feels funky, I need to find myself something to pour my heart and efforts into. Maybe some of that is just pure distraction from whatever is truly bothering me, but a lot of it gets back to the foundational values or principles I’ve set up for myself to live by. If I can find one thing that is a core value for me and I can really focus my efforts on it for a while, slowly but surely the rut begins to fade and just becomes an unpleasant memory that also dissolves like morning mist in the sun’s heat.
While some who know me well may laugh at what I’m about to write, I think this is what I might do: get myself re-dedicated to my exercise and health plans. I know… I know… I’m the guy with the gym in his basement and who posts videos of himself on YouTube of doing all sort of funky training. I hear ya people – really I do. The hard thing is that even that has taken a hit of late where it feels too much like a chore to get myself lifting or doing my stretching as I should or really being good much more often about what I eat or getting a good night’s rest every night. I think if I give myself an extra push in this area, I will begin to enjoy it again as I should and get some momentum going… and that momentum? It tends to have a positive carry over into other areas (at least that’s my sincere hope).
Today was a good start to all of this with the first outdoor soccer game of the season, a 5-2 win for Maniacs FC (the team I am the captain of). I felt focused and in good shape all game long… but most importantly, I just had fun. Isn’t that the point anyway?
So onward I go and the blogging will be much more consistent (as my next post will illustrate). Here’s to getting back to the foundations on which we build our lives… because with their strength, we can build beautifully.