A Round of Introductions
There was an episode of the Biggest Loser several years ago that featured an interesting challenge (aren’t they all interesting?): the contestants—still pretty fat at this point—had to stand on one foot. The last person standing won.
It was the first episode of the show I’d ever seen. Honestly, I hated it. I only watched it because I was in a new relationship, and the cute, funny, 6-foot-5 man I was seeing wanted to watch it. This was during my fitness heyday, when I’d dropped most of my Fatty McFatterson drinking and pizza weight from college, and I was pretty tight. And I liked it.
I was also (and still am) pretty obnoxious/competitive. Seeing the challenge, I let out a loud, “Pshhhhhh. Eeeeeasyyyyy!” My date said, “Oh yeah? You do it.”
And I did. Like a moron, I stood on one foot on a small book (they were using a cinder block or something) in his living room for over 45 minutes. Until the last contestant fell and then some.
The challenge was about balance, and I’d turned it into a competition. I’d won at balance, and not only that, I’d hung on even longer to completely demolish my fake TV competitors. It took several months for me to realize the significance of that moment: I had no idea what balance was. Up until that point, my behavior was characterized by one of two polar opposites: gluttony and sedation, and extreme activity and malnourishment.
Since that moment, I’ve been seeking balance in my life. Balance between anger and ecstasy, complacence and rebellion, gluttony and starvation, and on and on and on and on…. Balance keeps the mind still, the soul strong, and the body sexy. And who doesn’t want that?!
But living a balanced life feels like walking a line. And what a freakin’ fine like it is! Lifestyle opposites seem to fuel themselves: you veer slightly to the right or left, and before you know it, you’re so far off base it doesn’t seem like you’ll ever get back. And that’s what The Tight Rope is about—recognizing the need for balance, and also the need to rein indulgences back in. It’s about knowing when to push and when to pull, when to move and when to be still. I think balance in one’s life really boils down to really knowing and loving your mind and your body, and ultimately finding peace with both. That’s where I want to be. And by golly, I’m going to do my damndest to get there.