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Monday, January 17, 2011

Is Life A Juggling Act Or a Blender?

I used to think my life was like a juggling act. Truth be told, it’s more like a blender.

Don’t get me wrong, juggling a full-time job, three kids, a spouse, and extended family and friends (not to mention writing and hobbies) involves lots of balls. But sometimes, I run out of hands. I’m even known to drop a few balls in mid air.

Which is where the blender comes in. Forget juggling. I just throw it all into the same bowl and turn on the switch. There are three speeds -- low, medium, and high. I usually run on medium, and I save high for when I really need it – like when I’m up all night with a sick kid and need to be in court the next morning.  But even in moments of complete and utter chaos, I've learned to make a pretty good shake. I’ve even gotten used to the fact that there are no hard and fast lines between my worlds. That’s right, I’m at my best when I abandon the juggling act and just turn on the blender. And I’m not alone.  Integrating life and work is an emerging trend.

In a world of technology, social media, and careers that demand nothing less than a chunk of our flesh, it’s no longer realistic to compartmentalize. The days of “work time” and “personal time” are over.  Every time I try to draw a line in the sand, it backfires. The phone rings when I’m trying to fix dinner and it’s a client emergency. How can I ignore the call?  I’m sitting in an important meeting and my secretary interrupts with a message -- my son is sick at school and needs me. Of course, I run out to get him.

Some would accuse me of lacking balance.

My response?  Balance is out.  Blenders are in.  Why fight it?  I’m not saying it’s right or wrong.  For many of us, it’s just the way it is.  I’m tired of changing my cape every time I switch from home to work and work to home. I’m a passionate mother and a passionate lawyer. Can’t I be both at the same time? Or do I need to take great pains to compartmentalize my life so that no one can ever discover the real me?


mrsgleffter said...

Great post. I've been struggling with whether I'm juggling well or not and this helps me see that I don't need to juggle. My life is my life and that involves being an engineer and being a mom and it is all intertwined.

The cell phone is the technology that keeps me in the mix with both parts. I can't imagine life without a cell phone.

Have a great day!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

I believe you can do both.

I'm a fan of triage living. It's what I do. I don't deny it, I dive in when I have to and do the best I can. It's all God asks of me.
~ Wendy

Bonnie R. Paulson said...

Yep, there's nothing better than being able to merge the sections of your life. It teaches your children how to multitask and prioritize. I love the blender analogy! that fits the case perfectly!

Laura said...

Interesting concept, Susan. I think perhaps the lines that attempted balance creates make me feel secure, but there are times you just have to throw it all to the wind (or in the blender) and do what's right for you and your family!

Heidiopia said...

I actually think balance is subjective-- what feels balanced to me probably looks chaotic to someone else! The important thing is that it's MY balance. Do I struggle with it? Sure!! What mom doesn't? But somehow everything --and everyone-- gets taken care of. Re-balancing is sometimes in order, too. But it works! Keeps life interesting, too! Blend on, my friend! said...

EXCELLENT post. Love the way you use the blender analogy... and turn the idea of true "balance" on its head. It really is impossible for so many people, especially wokring moms! By throwing in the towel, you almost liberate yourself to experience your life in a more realistic way. But I'll tell you, this kind of blender approach takes guts and stamina and pure strength. You've got that, Susan. I can tell.

Kissed by the Creator said...

Love this post. I so feel this way. Personal time? Really? Even sitting on the beach with my toes in the sand, my mind wanders to the NEXT Project. So LOVE the blender analogy! Great post. Thanks Rachel for tweeting it.

Keli Gwyn said...

"Balance is out. Blenders are in."
I love this.

The days of compartmentalizing our lives are behind us, and I think accessibility has a great deal to do with that. As an example, in bygone days our agent wouldn't have been available on weekends or after hours. These days, though, we can zap her emails, send her DMs on Twitter, or even call her on her cell at all hours. (Not that I would mind you.)

Merging work and personal life has ceased to be as realistic a goal as it was in the past. Blending seems to be the answer.

Julie Jarnagin said...

It's wonderful to hear I'm not alone. I work full time and two of my work days are from home with my two-year-old. Talk about your family and work lives colliding! I'm so thankful for all the stuff that makes my life so busy and crazy!

T. Anne said...

WHy yes, blenders are in! I'm glad I'm with the in crowd for once. I've never been good at balance, but I always tell myself all I have to do is get through the next 12 hours then I can sleep and do it all over again.

Suzanne Cross-Burden said...

There are no hard and fast lines...too true. There shouldn't be really, should there? The example of Jesus is proof.

Maybe we as women have a unique role to play in modeling integration.