Everyone has heard the saying, “Life’s a juggling act”. The juggling metaphor to life is simple; you will always have more than one ball (task, activity, commitment) in the air, all of which need your attention, concentration and dedication at the same time. It’s up to you to learn how to keep all the balls in the air without dropping one on the ground. The metaphor makes it seem easy. The actual act of juggling, however, is much more complicated.
During orientation at my first architectural internship I was given a set of juggling balls. The HR Director told the group of us newbies that we needed to teach ourselves to juggle and that in 4 weeks we would be asked to get up in front of our coworkers at the company meeting and show off our skills. At first I took the task very seriously. I took my juggling balls home and started practicing. Within twenty minutes I had mastered the art of juggling…2 balls. I set a side my juggling balls with the intention of going back to it at a later time. Three weeks later I finally picked up all three juggling balls. “I can do this,” I thought to myself. But I failed miserably. After a frantic practice session I was able to keep all three balls in the air for 1 full rotation. I never got any better. I stood up in front of my fellow employees the following week and attempted to juggle all three balls. It didn’t go so well. All three balls fell on the floor. I was told that I hadn’t failed, that at least I had tried and that was the most important thing. I shrugged off the juggling exercise and haven’t thought about it until recently. At the time I don’t think that I really got the juggling metaphor and what they were trying to teach us. It was less about the physical act of juggling and more about highlighting the importance of “learning to juggle” one’s life.
Wherever you find yourself today, my guess is you have several balls in the air. I sure do. Today I find myself working hard at establishing my young career and proving my passion and dedication to the profession, I am devoted to completing IDP in the next few months and I have set a goal for myself to finish 5 of the 7 ARE’s by the end of the year. And that’s just the professional side of my life. Personally I am embarking on my second year of marriage, working towards buying a house and trying to spend quality time with my family and friends. I can’t help but feel overwhelmed at times, but then I remember what I was told during my orientation 5 years ago: Even if one ball falls to the ground, you haven’t failed, you’ve tried and that’s all that really matters.
So, whether you’re a student trying to juggle school, work and a social life or a parent trying to finish the ARE’s, establish a career and take care of a family I’m sure you can relate to the metaphor above. As a community we can help encourage and strengthen one another as we all try to learn how to juggle in this life that will always keep throwing balls into the rotation.