[Here's the latest entry in former 'Survivor' winner Jenna Morasca's continuing series on her new role as a caretaker in fellow 'Survivor' winner and longtime boyfriend Ethan Zohn's battle with cancer.]
Jingle my bells.. Or should I say juggle my bells. Lately I have been thinking about the way people are able to juggle so many things at one time.
In life, when everyone is healthy, juggling a long To Do list of tasks feels like a normal part of life. Kids, friends, family, work, leisure – all of these things get juggled on a daily basis and none of it seems to to be out of the ordinary or unmanageable.
But when a loved one becomes sick and you are thrust into the role of caretaker, routine juggling not only gets more intense but vital to survival. It’s nothing you can take for granted or do without thought.
Up until a few weeks ago I did not even realize how many things I was juggling. Then I was at dinner with my amazing “tribe” of girlfriends who have bravely shouldered this burden with me and one of them said something to the effect of “all of this and Jenna goes to school. How do you do it all.”
At that moment I said to myself, “Damn, I really didn’t even realize all the balls I had in the air.” Consider: I am a girlfriend, daughter, cousin, niece, friend, and student. I also have a job and life on top of that. All of a sudden it seemed like a lot. Enough that I said, “How do I do it all?”
Indeed, how do all of us caretakers do it all?
It’s not just me. It’s all of us.
The number things we caretakers handle on a daily basis is amazing. Take all the things you do on a normal day, then throw in about another dozen medical and health-related tasks, plus a few psychological bowling balls that if dropped will do some serious damage, and voila, you have a caregiver – or rather someone who is easily qualified to entertain at Cirque du Soliel.
I do these things because I have to, because I feel like I would never be given a burden that I could not handle. No task is too big, no hill to high to climb. I think many of us as caretakers are alike. We take on these burdens and these tasks like warriors going into battle. We shoulder these tasks and accomplish them one by one like we have been doing it all our lives.
That doesn’t mean we don’t get frustrated, lose our temper or wish we had a couple fewer balls to keep track of. We do – and that’s OK.
We are doing a lot – because we want to, because we have to, because we wouldn’t do it any other way.
I want today to be the day that you stop for a couple minutes and acknowledge yourself for all you do. Make a list of all the things you are to yourself, to other people, and all the tasks you get done on a weekly basis. Then take a second and look at that list; its bound to impress you. Give yourself some credit, make an award and give it to yourself.
Every juggler has an audience. Be your own most appreciative audience even if you do it only for a minute or two.
Today is the day we recognize ourselves for being the best court jesters in the world, constantly juggling countless balls to keep our lives and our loved ones life in tact and moving forward.
So here’s to us juggling. Let’s keep those balls in the air!