Listening to my new favorite podcast (Back To Work)the other day I smiled when Merlin Mann explained what made San Francisco so special. “I’m glad there is somewhere where they’re trying really hard and getting it wrong a lot.” His point, I took it, was that to be creative you have to be willing to try a lot, and fail a lot.
New Orleans is like that too. Not just the failure part, which I think is what many finger-waggers think of.
New Orleans is one of the most creative places in the world, mostly because we aren’t afraid to fail. A lot of people don’t understand New Orleans because they like things to be orderly. Orderliness and creativity don’t mesh well, for the most part.
My wife Becky met one of our new neighbors the other day, a woman from New York who is here for a summer internship. The woman told Becky she liked New Orleans but was having trouble understanding the folks here. “People just do whatever they want to here,” she said. “Even the adults.”
Yep, we don’t obsess about conformity or expectations. We like to be spontaneous and have fun. Even the adults.
You can try really hard to do what you want and still fail. It depends on what you want. Not trying something you want because you feel like you’re not supposed to might be unhealthy sometimes too.
Achieving balance is hard because it requires constant adjustment and constant attention. No one can prescribe balance for you; you have to feel it out yourself. And listening to other people all the time makes it harder to find your balance.
Does finding balance sometimes involve “doing what you want”? You betcha.