The Art of Juggling
by Stephanie Johnson, CCE, Gritton & Associates
Google “juggling”. The search results will give you various definitions for this verb, a Wikipedia page on the history of the craft, some how-to videos if you’d like to learn or just watch for entertainment, images of people dressed up as clowns or in business attire showing the act of juggling, and other questions that other people frequently asked about juggling. One can learn a lot about juggling from reading about it or watching some helpful videos about it … but reading about how to juggle does not mean you know how to juggle.
The concept of juggling is that one rotates tossing items into the air and catching them; some items are in hand, some are in the air, hopefully none are dropped. The juggler has to be aware of various aspects of the items being tossed including their size, weight, trajectory, space, pattern, and number of objects in motion. It is a lot of mathematics, organization, and concentration. But it also just looks cool and fun … well until chainsaws or sharp knives are involved … then I am not a fan.
I could not say to anyone reading this today, “You are now a juggler. Juggle.” and have the reader stand up and automatically know how to juggle. It just is not done. It takes time and practice to learn the skill and variations of juggling. The reader could desire to learn to juggle and put the subsequent time, energy, cost, and effort into learning to be proficient at juggling. One might start with small light objects to get the rhythm and function down, then add weight or quantity until they are comfortable, and then a variety of sizes or shapes in the mix. Eventually a person can juggle a bowling ball, ping pong ball, tennis ball, apple, cone, ring, etc. The possibilities are endless within the constraints of creativity and physics.
This concept applies to our lives. I could not say to anyone reading this today, “You are now organized and able to juggle a healthy work-life balance.” Juggling work, home, family, friends, school, church, civic, recreation, physical or mental health, emotional or spiritual well-being, fun, joy, sorrow, anger, and time management (to name a few) takes time and practice to learn the skill and nuances of healthy balance. If you, dear reader, are feeling like you have a lot of metaphorical objects in your life that you have to juggle, and you just aren’t keeping them all in the air at the appropriate time or trajectory, please know you are not alone. Give yourself some grace and slack as you learn the art of juggling. It is ok to not be ok. It is ok to ask for help. It is ok to say “No.” It is ok to set boundaries. It is ok to succeed. It is ok to fail. Just because you might drop the “ball” does not mean you cannot pick it back up and try again.