I keep thinking that if I can come up with “the right” schedule to live my days by, I’ll find some sense of clarity. And then I keep laughing hysterically at myself. Creating a successful schedule has been on my ToDo list since about 1996. I’ve taken several runs at it, but none are the elixir to living my juggle struggle.
By the time I find a quiet moment to gather my thoughts—and all the things I need and would like to schedule, I have no energy for the task. This is the reality of many things in my hopper. By the time the day-to-day mundane is addressed, my tank is often empty. I bet you can relate.
This is the lament of the Crazy Lady.
Today is an all too typical day in this realm. Because of the extreme cold in the Chicago area, school is canceled. My family is all nestled in bed with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, right? Of course not—Christmas was a couple weeks ago. There are no sugar plums in sight.
So instead of this day being the first “normal” day of 2014, it’s an abnormal “bonus” day. But see, there is no abnormal. Abnormal is normal. Every day brings a swirl of things that need attention. Many repetitive, some brand new—but all time-sucking.
If it’s not a school cancellation because of the weather, then it’s something else…As the wacky Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, it’s always something…if it’s not one thing, it’s another.
[For those of you not familiar with the great RR, watch below. Her famous line is at 4:11.]
Of course, there are the “musts” of life that fill the morning…and afternoon…and evening…getting breakfast/lunch/dinner ready, taking care of my 87yo mom’s care needs, laundry, emails, dogs, working from home…
And then because this is a “bonus” day, my son has extra time to catch up on his big research paper…yea for him! And I can help my mom do some of the things she wants done in her room…yea for her! And the house can be cleaned up after taking down the Christmas decorations…yea for it!
But then there’s the freelance work that I’m already behind in, and another project that I have not been able to finish, and oh… this little blog that I like to keep myself accountable to…
Back when I worked as a communication director, I frequently dealt with people who needed “just a little something” from me. I would always try to help them see the math of the “little somethings” resulting from their needs (and lack of planning). If my day is already full, and three or four people need 30 minutes each for a little something…my day gets bowled over. Perhaps they could plan with more lead time from now on?
You know what? It didn’t really matter. They needed it anyway, and the same for the next time, too. And it’s just the same with the various hats I’m currently wearing.
Life is full of “little somethings” that are bowling me over.
The header of this blog says exactly what I feel most days: trying hard not to drop the balls or smash the plates. It is precisely what living the juggle struggle is all about.
I remember fondly the plate spinners on The Bozo Show from my childhood. I never knew then how this particular activity would so resonate in my life as an adult.
Since they sadly don’t do that kind of TV anymore, it’s a bit of a lost art. But thank God for YouTube, so that we can still go back in a time machine to enjoy things like this:
Notice how at 1:58, this master plate spinner drops one…he catches it before it shatters, but…he drops one. On The Ed Sullivan Show.
It’s no easy task, is it? Every day we are running to and fro spinning those plates. I sometimes find myself doing a stutter step in my hallway because I’m remembering several things that need doing. My mind no longer seems to operate at full capacity because, like a computer, there are too many operations running at one time.
And as life would have it, too often when I do have a thought of import, the dogs see the UPS truck and bark like raving banshees at the damn thing, blowing my head wide open and letting the thought shoot right out of my head. And so it goes.
Well, I have to get back to my plates. I’m sure you do, too. My wish for you is that all your plates keep spinning…but if one should drop and shatter, remember that even the best plate spinners weren’t perfect, either.