Juggling Explosives

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Photo by mbtphoto. Doesn't he make juggling look easy?

Photo by mbtphoto. Doesn’t he make juggling look easy?

Last night I had a minor melt down. I managed to hold off until the kids were in bed then the ugly thoughts and tears began. Now my overly emotional state might have been caused by the email saying I hadn’t placed in a writing competition I’d entered, the fact that I had gone almost a week without thyroid medication, or that I worked straight through the weekend and got the see my husband for only a few minutes each day (I’m rather high maintenance).
No matter the reason, I was in a bad place.

And while I was sorting my clothes- the nice ones to give away and the sweat pants which would fit once I abandoned my diet and stopped exercise, because why does the crazy night clerk at Circle K need to look good. I mean surely Circle K would hire a failed writer, mother, wife, human being right???

I had a thought. Yes, it hurt a lot a little bit, hush! I imagined myself as a juggler trying to keep all these balls in the air, work stuff, paperwork, work kids, personal kids, hubby, house, cooking, writing, sleep, social media, blogging, reading, working out, showering, crap that come along and fucks up my day. And there are all these balls and they are different size (based on importance) and some things like my family and work have more than one ball because, hello, there is a lot of shit to take care of.

Cold, heavy dread suffocated me as my eyes filled with tears. I shuffled to my computer and began filling out on line application to Circle K. I was never going to be able to do all of this, never. Needing a moment to figure out what my assets to the Circle K International team might be I scrounged up a hidden Snickers bar and while numbing my sorrow with chocolate and caramel, I began to imagine my life without writing.

I could still write a little bit, and of course pop in a social media and blogging enough to maintain what I had already created but I couldn’t keep trying to pretend I could do it all, when I was obviously failing at EVERYTHING!!!
So after moping about and finishing my Snickers bar, I decided to go to bed. I stumbled over the pile of clothes and as I brushed my teeth, not looking in the mirror because I didn’t need to see the evidence of five years of dieting failure at that particular moment, I had another less painful thought.

What if I gave each of the three main areas in my life one hour?

What if I gave one hour during my six ours off per day to my family? I could clean (we have a small apartment so I could get a lot done) I could prep food for dinner, or put together something, or put something in the crock pot. Sure my family isn’t home, but I can still support them and the space they live in by doing 1 hour a day. AND, because I am a multi-tasking fiend, I can listen to audio books while I’m doing so.

Okay this was sounding reasonable, which is not something I normally hear from the voices in my head so I paid close attention.

If I also gave 1 hour of focused time to work, one hour where I did something focused with the kids (preferably) or paperwork (an occasional necessity) I would feel better about how I’m doing my job. And I already read to them at bedtime, so 30min are already getting done, if I’m having a bad day and need to count it in.

This plan also gives me 1 hour to dedicate to writing every day. One hour where I will focus on my writing and nothing else.

Now I can still check Facebook and Twitter while the kids watch Sponge Bob, and I can read blogs while I eat lunch. Multi-tasking can still happen. But maybe, just maybe I will feel like less of a failure at life if I focus some time every day on the three areas I feel like I am always sucking at.

What do you think? How do you juggle your life?

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16 responses »

  1. I had too many balls in the air, too. For far too long. I did the “go to college and get a real job” route, but my family never let up. They kept throwing more balls into my mix. To bad I never learned to let the new ones fall before I ever touched them. In the end, I couldn’t have qualified for Circle K. I might have survived shoveling road crew for the highway department, but that would have been a stretch. Then I remembered a scene from one of those “move into this mansion and figure out your emotional hangups so you can lose weight and be a happier person” makeover shows. The gist of it was that as long as we hold onto all that crap, it ties itself into macrame and stops us in our tracks. There is no forward movement.

    I chose to drop it all. I warned those that I could that they would have to carry their own weight, and walked away. Literally. I packed two suitcases, a back pack, my laptop, and my cat, and walked away. Out of the house, out of town, out of the state, out of the country. I made myself unreachable so that I could figure out which of those many balls I CHOOSE to carry. I have picked up a few new ones… kind of like Koosh balls, they are easy to juggle because they want to be caught. I have picked up one of the old balls so far and am starting to get my rhythm back.

    I had certain advantages in that I don’t have a spouse and children to worry about. The thing is, there are balls that you CAN drop, just until you find your rhythm again. Be choosy, and if we don’t see you for a little bit, that’s okay. We know you’ll be back. If nothing else for the cute guys in kilts.

    • I love that you have been able to let go and figure out what is really important to you. I need to sit down and do this within my life and see what things I can release.

      shoveling does sound rather therapeutic, maybe I’ll go for that instead of circle K 🙂

  2. Hey Alica, we’ve all been in that head space from time to time. I admit I’ve been there all too often lately. I just want you to remember this, we’ve all read your stuff and can testify that you’re not a failure.
    Your writing is great and we want more. Forget the dang contests and get another installment of Phoenix Child published. (Okay, so I’m a fan.) Woman, anyone who can balance a family, a home, jobs and a career is a long way from failure.

    You will need to rant from time to time, though, so if you need someone to rant to, I’m always here.

    Hoping you’re feeling better, Pru

    • Thanks so much Pru! I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my crazy 🙂 I’m in the middle of revising Phoenix child and then onto fourth round edits of Legancy of the Feathered Serpent, hopefully with only a few more melt downs in-between.

  3. This is defintely one of the key places in my own life that I need to get better at. Running an distributor as the manager and the only salesman and having a newer daughter at home sure pulls me in a lot of directions. Trying to find time for writing can be hard at times. I like the way you are dispersing your time into the evenings. I might have to look at doing some of the same.

    Hope things are coming together for you though!

  4. It’s never easy to figure these things out. I think women feel too darn responsible for everything around them. We always want to step up and take care of it.

    Then we end up like you just did – completely freaked out. I’m older and wiser (ha!) than you, and I can only tell you it’s always like this. All my kids are grown, so now I worry about the grandkids, Who am I kidding? I still worry about the KIDS! And I go crazy trying to figure out how to do things for all of them.

    I agree about the contests. You’ve got a book out there and the most important thing you can do about it, is get the next book out. Contests, queries, conferences… they are all great if you have time. But when your life resembles a kaleidoscope, you have to put the extras aside. Wait for those occasions when things are slower to deal with them.

    I hope you can come up for air once in a while. Good luck as you go through all this!

    • Thank you, and yes I agree it can be very very difficult to make sure I find time for myself. I am grateful for how supportive hubby is, and so far my hour per thing is working well. I just need to keep it going!

  5. Hang in there! It’s smart to think of the day in chunks and devote hours where you need them most–I’m glad those thoughts came to you. I just posted about time and wanting more, so I really enjoyed your post. {{Hugs}}

    • Thanks Diana- I kept running around like a chicken with its head off because I kept thinking of everything I needed to get done. Now that I’m doing an hour, and stopping at an hour, is really helping me stay focused.

  6. For the cleaning thing I really strongly suggest you visit unfuckyourhabitat.tumblr.com. The profanity is just one of the reasons why I love it.

  7. Don’t think you’re all alone in this. It’s so hard not to give up. I’ve essentially given up sleep and spend nine wasted hours a day despising my necessary day job. Remember to breathe and it will get better. Try not to be so hard on yourself.

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