A couple years ago I had one of the most challenging relationships of my life.
I had designed all this freedom into my career and was running around the world in such an unbounded way that my own actions were even a surprise to me. I’ve always been spontaneous and random and created lots of value for people through connections and transfers of distance ideas, but this was a new level of having absolutely no threads between my days.
Then someone stepped into my life, who was equally unanchored and got knotted into my bit of twine.
The result was two inflated balloons tied together floating in the wind, occasionally bumping into each other and getting tangled at every opportunity.
Although this person was pushing for the relationship to work through all the bumps and the bruises, my self reflective nature couldn’t allow myself to surrender to such a painful journey. I worked through the hard bits of untangling the twine. I knew I needed to be with someone who was more grounded to balance out my natural tendencies.
I came up with a theory at that time that I called the “anchor and the balloon”. I would look at the relationships of the people around me and guess who was the anchor (more rooted person) and who was the balloon (the one bringing excitement and randomness ).
I could walk down the street, see a couple holding hands and guess whose who in the duo.
For a while, I told myself the story that I’m a balloon and needed to find an anchor. I’d seek out rooted people who needed to be shaken up a little and bring them adventure and passion.
More recently, I’ve really come to value a personal balance of balloonery and anchoriness. I’ve settled into how to bring up both ways of being into myself at the right moments. I’ve noticed when looking closer at healthy relationships that the states can swap. Partners will take on different roles to balance each other.
I still look at relationships and call out anchors and balloons. But Now I think of it less as permanent identity and more like a present moment quality.