Definition: A feeling of imbalance, a lack of stability.

Babies ehttp://www.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/5456010/2/istockphoto_5456010-baby-girl-falling-in-a-sand-hole.jpgxperience it as they’re learning to move about the world. They try to stand then walk, and disequalibrium causes them to fall — splat onto their diaper cushioned bottoms again and again. That cushion might very well be the reason they keep at it; it prevents them from feeling the pain of their first hard knocks in life, so that all they see ahead is the joy of mobility rather than the fear of failure.

Children encounter it as their bodies grow in spurts, leaving them unsure of their footing, as their young stride changes unexpectedly. No longer protected by the padding of http://sellmic.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/falling_from_bike.jpgdiapers, they skin their knees and elbows, and yet, they keep on going, giddily oblivious to most of the pain, facing their unsure futures with excitement and zeal.

Adolescents meet it head on as hormones start to surge and their bodies change. In their new shells, they feel heady emotion for the first time and are drawn into one new experience after another. They revel in their imbalance, find joy in their lack of stability. No longer concerned about physical pain, they are swept into a world where emotional upheaval is an every day occurance. Like gnats, they swarm toward its light, flitting around wildly, sometimes landing, getting burned, only to flit about more recklessly, unconcerned about their uncertainty.

Young adults experience it with joy as they gain autonomy, enjoying the freedom that surrounds making their own decisions for the first time. They swim in it as they find love, get married and have children. Unsure of their every move, they are now responsible and face each new day, each new experience, each new decision with the assurance that all will be well, for they are immortal.

The http://fredzone.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/happy-old-man-in-walker.jpgaged know it all too well, as their bodies begin to betray them. Like babies, they fall, and while some of them are again diapered, their bones are now frail, and the extra material provides inadequate cushion to their bony bottoms. Hips break. Legs and arms bruise. The certainty they have come to know as adults begins to waiver. They live in a constant state of disequilibrium, never knowing what the next day will bring, and yet, they appreciate every moment of every day.

Disequilibrium is a way of life for all of us, yet the only time in our lives that we are truly uncomfortable with it is when we are middle aged. It is during that time of our lives that we strive for stability and crave a sense of balance. It is vital to our peace of mind that we know what tomorrow will bring, that our finances are adequate, that we understand our duties, that our futures are secure. We understand that the loss of a job can mean calamity. We know that not knowing what we are doing can spell disaster. We fear losing our spouse to someone else, or worse, to death. We dread the unknown and panic at the idea that we might lose our autonomy. As we grow older, we are no longer comforted by our vision of the future, but instead work harder to maintain what we have right here and now. Wehttp://www.peoplecomm.org/images/bedekr/image/carpediem.jpg seek structure and balance.

Perhaps it is in middle age, more than any other time in our lives, when we should learn to step out of our comfort zones and live for the day. Carpe Diem might never mean so much to us as it means right now. After all, who knows what will come on say…December 22, 2012? If the Mayans have anything to say about it, we might only have a few carpe diems left! So I say it’s time to find joy in our imbalance and reach for experiences that are new and exciting. Never will we be so equipped to handle the unexpected. We are experienced at life, our emotions are in check and we know where we have been and what we want out of life. Why not make the most of today rather than waste time worrying about tomorrow? Rekindle delight and relish disequalibrium again! And should you fall on your butt, keep on smiling, dust yourself off and begin again!