White light can be made from red, green and blue – just like in the Trinitron TV we had when I was a kid. Talking to a good friend this morning it came to us that finding a good balance in life needs you to get the RGB balance right.
We were comparing notes on our ‘re-entry’ into work after summer holidays and as Autumn is upon us wondering where the eudaemonia was going to come from in the short dark days of winter. Work is going to be tough. We live in an age of austerity. Home as family men is going to ask a lot of us too. I said if you think of it as spotlights (think of the Flickr logo) you have to get some balance between the work spot (red) and the home spot (green). I certainly had that balance wrong pre the summer and my life went red.
But to get to white, well-being and eudaemonia you need a blue spot too – and that’s the spot which is purely and uniquely for you. For most of my 20s I got nearly all I needed in my life from the red spot – work gave me money, laughs, sex and an international life. In my 30s I built a home: I found a partner and dog, mortgage and a family followed with the many joys and responsibilities they bring. In my 40s I have come to realise if I don’t do a few things for me I begin to get frayed and transactional. It is a truism that to really love others you have to start with yourself.
So we concluded this morning that the pure white light of fulfilment, flourishing, eudaemonia and just keeping the show on the road requires a spot of blue – some things you do just for you. It’s easy to feel guilty about that – a moment for a cuppa, a walk around the block in the sunshine, indulging a hobby or interest you don’t share with anyone else. I think you shouldn’t and you mustn’t.
Happiness and well-being are emergent phenomena I’m increasingly convinced. You can’t approach them directly and doing one thing or set of things however well won’t deliver them. Like the white light from an RGB monitor you need the red of work, the green of home and crucially the spot of blue for you.