Bases Loaded

August 12th, 2015, 7pm

Moments like the one we saw the other night in a game against the Blue Jays and the New York Yankees seem to come quite suddenly, as though it were more a confluence of several fortunate events rather than the effortful progress of a strategy. But when it’s bases loaded, there’s a particular kind of excitement because of what could happen next: that final, victorious swing of a bat that sends everyone to home plate.

It’s a particular kind of success, one that probably strikes as much fear in individual people striving for something similar in their personal and professional lives as it does any sense of hopefulness. When we simultaneously pursue several goals — finding someone to love, doing work that leads to a promotion and maybe trying to get in shape — we tend to say, if we accomplish all of them around the same time, that the “stars were aligned,” rather than that the bases were loaded. Maybe that’s because when the bases are loaded, there’s still a chance of that epic failure of the last batter, a failure that turns into a double play opportunity for the defending team.

Although it’s a term you learn almost by osmosis, I didn’t realize until I looked it up that “bases loaded” is also sometimes referred to as “bases full”, “bases packed”, “bases jammed” or even “bases drunk.” All these sound much more like the negative connotations we use to describe our endlessly multi-tasking, never-satisfied tendencies. Our society tends to frown on earnestness or trying to challenge ourselves, lest we make others feel guilty or lazy. And yet, when the bases are truly loaded in your life, you don’t really have balance. You just have to play the best you can (and hope you aren’t called out prematurely).

I turned 42 yesterday, and I realized that, almost as though I’d been daydreaming in the outfield of my life, I have a wonderful family on one side of me, a successful freelance journalism business on another, and a thriving content marketing consultancy on yet another side. I know, however, that I want to do something much bigger, more personal, more for me than for anyone else. There are risks to all these other things if I pursue my ambitions, but not pursuing them would mean, essentially, walking off the field.

One of the benefits of aging is both recognizing the abundance around you but also the voids that still need to be filled. My bases are loaded. I have no choice but to find a way to step up to the plate.

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Shane Schick

Writer and editor of @CanadianCIO, @FierceDeveloper and @Allstream's Lover/fighter.

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