One of the many things that I like about Big Dave as a person includes the fact that he can juggle. I've always been fascinated by this activity, and have tried it unsuccessfully along with a whole string of things in my life...but I can't do it. At least not yet. My son has learned how, and maybe it will buy him coolness points one day with some girl who is as fascinated by this as I am. I hope so.
While I can't juggle in the traditional sense...I am a master juggler in the figurative sense. I've been juggling work, friends, part time jobs, family, interests, my house, and my well being for so long that I don't really know what it feels like to not have something demanding my attention. I suppose that this is pretty much the reality of everybody I know, and I can't even really say when it all began. I've always wanted to jump right in to a project if I am so led, and I spent years...make that decades...going and doing and rocking and rolling.
A few years ago, I burned out. I realized that I could only deal with work and home...home and work. Everything else was either something I did because I really wanted to...or for the express purpose of maintaining relationships. I gave up volunteering for anything or trying to do things that I'm not particular good at but felt like I "should" be doing unless I really felt like I was called to do it. It was tough sometimes...because I like to be involved, but my life has improved dramatically as a result.
I think that jugglers are able to do it because they find a rhythm that feels natural and with time and practice...they begin to build confidence. Part of the reason a lot of people seem so busy to me is that they won't say "no" because they are afraid that they'll miss something. I can respect that. But I can also now say that I've completely outgrown that tendency after suffering a recent relapse or two. Doing what you are uniquely gifted to do will help you figure out your own cadence so that you can confidently pick and choose how you will invest your time. Might as well be picky...life's too short to do things you don't truly want to do.
Unless, of course, your mother, spouse, or child asks you to. Then we're back to that whole "maintaining relationships" thing. Can't really get around that one sometimes.
It may be as simple as helping friends when they call, organizing a community event, getting into politics (wait! THAT isn't simple), keeping a house that is the epitome of hospitality, caring for the friends of your children, doing something extremely well that you can teach others about, or being someone that other people can count on in a myriad of other ways. Whatever it is...when you add this to your mix...the juggling is actually fun, challenging, and empowering. This is good.
Doing those things that are not your calling will result in stress, resentment, regret, and disappointment in yourself for either not giving it your all...or falling short of your own expectations. This is NOT good.
Oh, I'll be juggling for the rest of my life, I'm sure. My nature is to get obsessive about something...learn all about it...follow it to a conclusion...and then move on. I've come to recognize a potential obsession...and I either steer clear of it, or I just consider it a cosmic gift of entertainment and/or enjoyment. In recent years, I've been obsessed with African violets, weightlifting, The Lord of the Rings movies (briefly), biographies of the Founding Fathers, scrapbooking (still at it), Foo Fighters, calligraphy, making casseroles, and now books by Charlaine Harris. I can somehow always seem to manage keeping that obsession ball flying freely in the air. To me, that "obsession" ball keeps life interesting.
Maybe one day I'll decide that I want to learn to juggle in earnest, and I'll stay at it until I master it. Not likely. I have learned that there will always be elusive wishes that will never be granted. I can't make homemade biscuits, I don't memorize Bible verses easily, and I honestly cannot paint. But every so often, I'll try just to make sure that my impression about my inability to do this or that is still valid. Much like Big Dave does every summer when he tries fried okra and says, "Yep, I still hate it."
Today, I juggled work, bills, housecleaning, errands, dinner, and demands of family and friends. I hope that all of the balls remained in the air, but I suppose I'll find out in time if one didn't stay aloft. Tomorrow is another day and another opportunity to pick it all up, watch them fly and keep them airborne. Hopefully...