February 25, 2016

Perfecting the Juggle

I decided to create this blog as a creative outlet and journal. It's also a step towards vulnerability, which has been a major challenge for me in my mid 20s. I used to write, teach in children's ministry as a youth, and I led a small group in college. In one-way or another, I shared life with others. It looked different in various seasons of my life, but that was always present....before getting into grad school. I should say.

Let me start off by saying that I love my profession! I'm a speech language pathologist so I get to help people communicate and find their voice. It's an awesome career if you enjoy problem solving and helping people...but graduate studies consumed my life when I started my program. During those years, if I wasn't editing a paper, I was studying for an exam, or preparing materials to use with clients for my next therapy session. I stopped reading as much as I used to, writing, painting, talking about spirituality, and setting aside time to talk with God. Everyone says there's a big shift in academic rigor from undergraduate to graduate studies, but that's an understatement. Graduate school requires a massive amount of mental energy and dedication. I became so drained from the constant intellectual engagement that I literally wanted to just "veg out" on Netflix whenever I had a few minutes to spare or, if we're being honest, nap.

What's wrong with that?! I'm only human, right? Definitely...the problem is that the excuses never stopped...even after I finished my masters' degree. Complacency started to become a pattern. The reason why I didn't have time to get involved in other things soon became wedding planning, later nesting, then starting off my career, after that becoming a better wife, afterwards becoming a better house keeper, following that refining my clinical skills...all worthy goals, but the list never ended and I eventually started to feel run down. I asked myself "would life ever slow down again? Gees, I don't even have kids yet!"

That's about the time when I laughed and cried. With apprehension, I realized that it obviously wouldn't and this awareness was liberating. In Factory and Company, Ana Muoio says life is one big juggling act. Once mastered, it can become something magical...but as we grow older, we sometimes take the simplest things in the toss for granted and that can hurt us in the long run because it's the simplest ball in the jiggle that will be our anchor.

Those simple spheres represent different things for different people. For me, they are taking time to read scripture and books. They are praying, partaking in some form of fellowship...even when that's initially difficult for me as an introvert, creating, engaging in physical activity, and stepping outside. Those globes may embody other things for you. Regardless of what they are, if we keep overlooking them in our schedule, we will eventually run out of gas. Make time for the little gratifications that inspire you, even if that means the laundry might be put off a day or your reports for work won't be 10 pages long. With a little shimmy and effort, we'll eventually find balance. Live life fully. Fight for your happiness.

My sister and I by Berthrude Albert, 2010

You make me know the path of life; in your presence is unbounding joy, in your right hand are eternam delight. (Complete Jewish Bible, Psalm 17.1)


  1. Creative expression is so important, especially for someone with so much creativity and artistic ability as you, Jess! So here's my encouragement to keep creating beauty while balancing your career, marriage, spiritual health, family ties, and physical wellbeing. Achieving that balance is a constantly shifting practice because we can't give equal attention to all those spheres. So it's okay to spend a season giving more to your career, or more to your marriage, or more to your health. But what never changes is the area that should always be given our primary focus (and seems to be the hardest to maintain!), our spiritual health. So there's my 2 cents. Now let's see if I can practice what I preach. ;) It's always easier said than done. Love you! -Leigh Ann


    1. Thanks Leigh Ann. That is so true! I'm trying to keep spirituality at my center as I seek balance.

  2. Jess,
    I won’t stop to comment, every new that I open is better than the last, I loved this so much, and the picture is the best.
    Your #1 Fan: Mom