For most of us fantastic mortals, life is a complex beast. Modern living can sometimes feel more like a sideshow juggling act rather than the exciting, surprising and brilliant journey it should be. If you’d like to join me, I invite you to step outside of the normality box for a moment, and I’ll try my dandiest to show you how I see it... in a nonsensical random way, of course.
Imagine if every facet of your existence was represented by a ball.
And Health, etc.…
The list is extensive and unique for all of us, but for the sake of simplicity (and length of this blog), I’m going to stick to the basic things I have experience of.
At different times of the day, depending on what you’re doing, you’re going to be juggling those balls—throwing them in the air and catching them with the aspirations of maintaining the status of ninja-clown.
Only, you’re not, nor should you be, a martial arts expert dressed as a children’s entertainer.
Because it’s plain weird and wrong… it doesn’t work, does it. So why do we try and aspire to be something that clearly doesn’t mesh?
Let’s pop our balls down for a moment and look at good them.
Life’s balls aren’t created equally, and, some are more pleasant to handle than others (and no, much to my husband’s disappointment, I’m not talking about the flesh variety); they come in an array of weights and values, often given an importance that doesn’t always appropriately fit.
Here are a few I’ve named for myself, along with the consequence of what happens when my fingers get greased with the oil of worry, doubt and negative-ninny-isms, and the balls slip out from my grasp…
Shiny glass balls— these are my emotions. It might seem like these precious, delicate balls should never be broken, but it’s okay. If they weren’t meant to break, they would have been made from carbon-fibre. If you drop one and it smashes, sure, it’s a mess that’ll need urgent attention before it impales an unsuspecting foot (usually mine or the husbands); but, once it’s swept up, there are plenty more in the cupboard to replace it.
Lumps of lead— these are the housework balls. Housework is the mother of all things I hate, but a necessity that needs to be done (no one wants to be known as a scutter, but there’s a clean house and then there’s insanity). You try to throw these too high? You’ll drop it. Probably on your toe, too. You don’t have to juggle these lumps, really, you don’t. Plop that big brick of boring down and turn it into something more useful—like a door-stop. For me, if clothing doesn’t come out of the tumble dryer un-creased, it doesn’t get worn. And the charity shop will eventually receive another donation (charity shopping is underestimated, guilt-free purchase-power). Everyone’s a winner!
Squidgy balls of wool— work. For some, work might be represented by a lump of cold metal, but for me? Work is a squidgy ball of niceness (that occasionally get a little itchy when things go wrong). Have I mentioned I work in a library? I don’t take this one for granted, I know I’m lucky. I love my job, and so it’s easy to pop one of these balls in the back pocket and crack on. Sure, it might change one day— my colleagues might leave (who’d want to stop working with me? Inconceivable, I know). But, for now, it’s good, so I’m embracing it.
Rusty barbed wire balls—tricky things. There are some balls that are universally horrible. Be it death, illness, loss… I could list all the shit things in life that constitute these barbaric balls. But I won’t. All I can say is that these balls should not need to be juggled. Ever. They need careful, gentle and considerate handling.
Little bouncy balls of bright colour—these are my kids, and husband (the fourth child in our three-child household). For others, they might represent the furry/scaly/feathery variety of children. If you drop them, they bounce in all kinds of seemingly erratic directions; you end up chasing them around the house, often in a futile attempt to control and contain them. When really, you need to sit back and let them do their thing—hey, they’ll stop bouncing eventually.
You see, juggling is hard enough… but doing it with balls that aren’t even equal in weight, material or size? We can’t expect them to stay airborne for long; they’re going to get dropped.
So why do we do it?
I’m sitting here, trying to write this blog, watching the Thick of It (everyone loves a bit of Malcolm Tucker, right?), talking to my husband and petting my dog; I’m doing all these things, at the same time, because my kids are away for twenty-four hours, and this is the only time I’ve got to write, get my comedy fix, and spend quality time with the husband and pooch. Really, this particular juggling act is small potatoes compared with most days. We do it because we need to. Modern society insists on it. We’re just too busy to stop and live in the moment. My advice? Take one ball at a time and give it your all. That’s why I’m wrapping up this blog now… Malcolm Tucker and the husband are far too distracting.
Life isn’t about trying to mindlessly juggle miss-matched balls. It just doesn’t work. There are too many things that can, and will, go wrong.
Life is about holding one ball at a time and paying attention to what it means to you. Sure, you might have a hundred things to do, but… There. Is. Only. One. Of. You (well, at least until cloning becomes a thing).
Do you have a favourite ball analogy? Maybe one that you can’t abide? I would love to hear your ideas and thoughts on this topic. Please, let me know what you think!