A couple years ago I experienced one of the most challenging relationships of my life.
I had designed all this freedom into my life and was running around the world in a boundless way that even my own actions were a surprise to me. I’ve always been a spontaneous person, and have created value for different people through unlikely connections that otherwise might have not happened, 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 became 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 workout through all the bumps and 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 in order 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 (the more rooted person) and who was the balloon (the one bringing excitement and spontaneity).
I could walk down the street, see a couple holding hands and guess who’s who in the duo.
For a while, I told myself the story: 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 “anchoredness.” I’ve discovered how to bring out both ways of being during at the right moments. I’ve noticed, when looking closer at healthy relationships, that the states can swap, and that’s okay. Partners will take on different roles to balance each other.
I still look at relationships and call out anchors and balloons. However, now I think of it less as a permanent state and more like a present moment quality.