This I Believe

Judy - Bemidji, Minnesota
Entered on April 18, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Juggling Life

I made three New Years resolutions for 2007. Two were the mundane standard type dealing with finances and weight. The third was to learn to juggle. Obviously, there was no intelligent reasoning behind this goal. It’s pure blissful silliness. As a child, I mastered walking on stilts. Perhaps I am an accountant who is trapped in the body of a circus performer in an earlier life.

Surprisingly, I have learned that juggling has lessons that can be applied to everyday life. There are only 3 simple steps to learning how to juggle as written in the book Juggling for the Complete Klutz by John Cassidy and B.C. Rimbeaux. These steps also hold some basic truths for living.

Step 1 – The Drop: Pick up three bags and toss them into the air making no effort to catch them. Get used to this motion of bending over to pick them up. You will repeat this move over and over while learning.

Get used to this in life also. You will make mistakes and that’s okay. The important thing is to pick yourself up and keep trying.

Step 2 – The Toss: The most important part of juggling is to keep your tosses consistent, one after the other, so you don’t have to go lunging around catching weird throws.

Consistency is an excellent life quality to possess. Be a consistent employee that can be depended upon. Be consistent when raising your children so they do not get mixed messages on what is expected of them. Be committed in your relationships for a solid base. Consistency is not the same as being in a rut. Juggling is not stagnant and one item is always up in the air. But to be successful, you have to be in control and consistently move in the direction of your goals. Like juggling, try to find a balance among all your responsibilities and don’t rush the process. If your tosses and daily living becomes too rushed, most likely they will collide in midair and drop.

Step 3 – The Exchange: This is the big step. An awkward motion at first, but persevere. Throw one bag up and over toward your other hand. At the top of its arc, just as it starts to drop, toss upward the second bag from the opposite hand to free it to be able to catch the first ball. Exchange, exchange, exchange with one ball in the air at all times. Two exchanges back to back are called a jug.

Life is a series of shifts, moves and catches so be willing to change as needed. You will move from high school, to college and to the work force. Your children will grow up and begin their own lives. People that you love will be lost. As much as you want to hold on to the present moment, the circle of life goes ahead.

As you are practicing the three steps, you should follow additional advice given by my juggling guide which stresses to take a break when learning. You will get frustrated so give yourself permission to rest. This is good advice when frustration strikes in any situation.

My first two resolutions still need some work, but I am proud to say that I have learned to juggle. When I began, I didn’t realize that it would be such a great stress reliever. I can’t be upset or tense while playing with three multicolored bags. I often pick them up at the end of the day and let go of any troubles for awhile. They have become an offbeat tool that I use to choose to be happy in life.

Juggling only looks like many things are happening at once. It is actually a controlled situation with one item in the air at a time. Just like when dealing with life’s challenging circumstances, try to keep most problems in hand, concentrate, strive for balance, and, most importantly, keep picking yourself up when needed.