When I was in high school, I remember my brother coming home from college one weekend and showing me a new skill he was learning: juggling. He wasn’t great at it, but he could keep three balls of socks going for a few seconds. Like any easily-impressed younger sibling, I wanted to learn, too! Like the good older sibling he is, he gave me some pointers. Although I never became good at it, I learned to juggle three objects for a few seconds which seems to impress people. That’s good enough for me.
Now that I am older, I find myself in a different type of juggling game, one in which I don’t juggle balls but priorities and obligations, demands and responsibilities. Recently, I was talking to my husband about how overwhelmed I am and how much I have to do. I used the juggling metaphor, commenting that I never seem to be able to eliminate one of the balls and take it out of rotation. Pondering upon that, I decided to do a little exercise. I sat down with a paper and pen and drew a picture of myself juggling and labeled all of my “balls”.
This is the first picture I drew:
That’s a lot of balls to juggle. Some of them are pretty big. I decided I needed to divide those into smaller balls:
After looking at it for a bit, I realized that to be totally honest with myself, I needed to divide some of those balls again AND I added more:
I am sure I am forgetting some, and I know these can be divided even further, but I decide that’s all I want to deal with at the moment (can you say denial?). Some of these balls were meant to be only temporary, but they sure have been up in the air a long time! Others are perpetual and are always there or get completed and then reappear. Looking at my pictures really gives me a new perspective. I have so much up in the air and I need to admit that to myself. My life is busy. I keep running from ball to ball to keep them (or me) afloat. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to eliminate some of those balls or pass them on to others?
But how do I do that? What can I do to make my life easier? How do I go from juggling chaos to juggling with grace and confidence? That, my friends, is the question.