Some years ago, I noticed that I seemed to be on an unusual cycle of corrective actions. After not really paying attention to my health/diet/exercise regimin, I would work harder to improve myself in that arena. But then I'd start having difficulties with my personal relationships. When I began to address that, I noticed a decline in my comic book interactions. When I worked harder to engage on that dimension, I noticed my professional work slipping. When I got my game on back at work, I somehow dropped the ball on making sure my finances were in order. And so on... None of it ever really seemed to get devastatingly out of control, but it seemed like a constant juggling act as I kept trying to ensure that none of it did slip too far. It always seemed like there was one more aspect to my life than I could keep under control.
The issue at hand, of course, is balance. Ensuring that no one aspect of your life becomes so time/thought/energy consuming that you neglect anything else that might actually be important. The difficulty, though, is that we all have a great many aspects of our lives to concern ourselves with, and it's almost impossible to quantify portions of your life. Is an hour spent at work equal to an hour spent with friends? How does that compare against an hour exercising? Or sleeping? Or reading? For that matter, does the hour you spend working between 9:00 and 10:00 equal the hour you spent working between 2:00 and 3:00 (with regard to your productivity)?
One of the options -- one that seems to be frequently taken, in fact -- is to simply ignore parts of your life that difficult and let them atrophy. I think this is where a lot of people run into problems. Their relationships fall apart, or they find themselves with a mountain of debt, or they get stuck in a dead-end job they hate, or they wind up living in Indiana, or whatever.
One of the issues facing people these days is a wide array of seemingly contradictory information on how to live healthily. Some red meat is good for you, but it can clog your arteries. Eggs are healthy, except when they're not. Strength training or endurance? Biking to work is a great idea, but you wind up inhaling all the exhaust fumes from the cars you ride next to. You need to get some sun for your body to process vitamin D, but too much sun will give you cancer. You want to avoid germs that get you sick, but avoiding them too much can compromise your immune system.
The answer frequently seems to come down to some variation of "everything in moderation."
There's a kind of common sense logic to that, I think. If you focus too exclusively on any one part of your life, you're bound to ignore others, some of which, like I suggested above, can be pretty important.
What's interesting, too, is that same thinking applies even WITHIN segments. If you work out exclusively on your upper body, your legs are going to be look and feel weak by comparison. If you put all your work energy towards creating web pages, you'll miss the social media aspects that need attention.
So doesn't it make sense that an industry that puts all its energy/focus on superheroes is going to be unhealthy in some fashion?
Now, to be fair, the industry overall has a wide selection of genres beyond superheroes, as I tried to illustrate from my Barnes & Noble trip last month. But in a sense, that's outside the comic book publishing industry and more within the broader context of book publishing. I think a quick flip through any Previews will show pretty readily where the comic book publishers (broadly speaking) have put their efforts.
This isn't new. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. It's just another way of illustrating the problem. Balance, people. Balance.
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