Juggling’s no sin, for we must have victual:
Nature allows us to bait for the fool.
Holding one’s own makes us juggle no little;
But, to increase it, hard juggling’s the rule.
You that are sneering at my profession,
Haven’t you juggled a vast amount?
There’s the Prime Minister, in one Session,
Juggles more games than my sins’ll count.
–From “Juggling Jerry” by George Meredith
A couple of weeks ago, my cousin posted a Reagan-era video of juggler Michael Davis on Facebook. (You can see it here.) I laughed at Davs’s jokes and sight gags, and I watched in awe as he made the juggling look so effortless. I am amazed at people who can juggle, since I can barely catch a bouncing ball.
But like most people, I am a juggler. We juggle our families and careers; we balance doing the things we want to do with the “I’m doing-this-because-I-have-too moments.” We juggle projects, commitments, and doctor’s appointment. We juggle loving passionately and just being friends. We juggle work and play.
Anyone who had ever cooked a big meal has juggled pots and pans (perhaps literally, if you are especially talented. . .or especially odd.) The onions have to be sautéed, while the sauce must be stirred, and the pie in the oven is ready to come out. It is a juggling act to have everything ready, but experienced cooks usually manage to have the hot things hot and the cold things cold, and both on the table at the right time.
Of course, there are those unforeseen kitchen disasters. During one Rosh Hashanah dinner, as family, friends, my husband, and I ate in the dining room we heard a crash. My stovetop had dropped onto the stove itself, knocking over a big pot of Yellow Split Pea-Pumpkin Soup and scattering the bright yellow soup all over the kitchen. Fortunately, I had already served the soup, but there were no seconds—or leftovers. (And I had been dreaming of having that soup for lunch the next day.) For months, I found bright yellow traces of soup all over my kitchen in the most unlikely spots. (How did it get all the way to the refrigerator?) Yes, good times.
Most writers also juggle. Some work full-time jobs, but squeeze writing sessions into the odd hours of their days or nights. Others, like me, try to fit a variety of writing projects into their schedules–while finding the time to take care of the minutiae of every day life, the housecleaning, the bill paying, and the errands. Like everyone else, we struggle to find time for family and the things we find essential.
We all weigh our priorities, and sometimes the scale tips toward family. Other times, the weight of a job is extra heavy and must be attended to. And then sometimes we step on the scale and realize, “Oh, it’s me that’s heavy.” (Read that literally or metaphorically.) I must attend to me.
So juggle away. It’s what humans do. We find the rhythm–and most of the time, we make our juggling look effortless. And when the ball drops, which it invariably does—we simply pick it up and continue juggling.
“Every planet has it’s own weird customs. About a year before we met, I spent six weeks on a moon where the principle form of recreation was juggling geese. My hand to God.”