Picking Your Priorities
Letting the Bouncy Balls Drop
By: Shayna Englin
I have it all. I’m married to the man of my dreams. He adores me, and his ambitions and mine are nicely matched—he’s an elected official, and I’m a political professional and manage his campaigns. I have a child that awes me every day (even when he’s driving me bat-*&%^ crazy with his 8-year-old-going-on-18-year-old lip). My career is satisfying; I run my own business, helping organizations and candidates that I believe in change the world, and therefore I get to help change the world, too. And I’m blessed with a full complement of fantastic friends that inspire me and love me as much as I love them.
So why am I so stressed and tired all the time? Because “having it all” means more than just juggling, it means tossing thousands of balls in the air and then running around frantically to keep them from careening into the ground. Can I really have it all and be miserable? Absolutely.
Here’s what I’m trying to do about it: Instead of picturing my life as a never-ending game of dodge ball, I’m thinking of those balls as differently constructed. Some of them are glass—if they hit the ground they shatter, and I lose permanently something I value deeply. My marriage, my relationship with my son, delivering valuable service to my clients and remaining a good friend—those are all glass balls. Lots of those other balls are rubber, though. They can hit the ground and bounce back up, so I shouldn’t sprint so freakin’ fast to make sure they stay in the air. The one with “PTA Officer” on it? Bouncy. The “spotless house” ball? That one’s usually bouncy, too.
I think that elusive “balance” we all hear so much about isn’t really balance at all. I think it’s more figuring out what balls to let hit the floor, and learning to feel less guilty about them.