Learning to juggle

People keep telling me that Santorini is boring in winter. Everybody leaves and there will be nothing to do. I’m thinking to myself, that boredom would be a very much appreciated for a change.

If you asked me what am I doing all day long, I would probably answer something like “Oh, you know.. this and that..”. But what does it really mean? In reality it is like juggling a lot of different balls and trying to prevent them from falling.

Some of them just make a mess, when they  fall. An overflowing laundry basket is not life threatening. A pile of dirty dishes is ugly but can be ignored for a certain amount of time. A messy house is sometimes OK. Life is messy. Just deal with it, give yourself a break and forgive yourself for not being perfect.

Others are more important to keep in the air and dropping them too often will have long-time consequences. Like my job. I have to find minimum 4hrs of quiet child free time, which does present a serious challenge, when you are a single mother in a new environment with no connections yet. Usually it is possible during their sleep time, but then there’s a serious chance of dropping another ball, that has long-term consequences – my own sleep time! I do need to sleep every now and then…

Right now I’m trying to get into a habit of biphasic sleep, which means I’ll work a little in the evening and then get up at 5AM to continue. The first week has been interesting… It’s wonderful to get up early in the morning but if I do not get my daytime nap, I can turn into a green monster that growls through teeth and stares at people with an icy glare, thinking about biting their head off.

Then there’s the ball of homeschooling my older daughter. There’s still work to do, to keep that one up in the air at all times. She does not mind at all, if we skip a day or two studying. But in the long run we have to work out a regular habit of studying every day a few periods that are just enough, so that she wouldn’t get tired and fed up. Fortunately she is a smart girl, easy to teach and most of the time easy to motivate. It’s just me and my poor juggling skills that hold the process back.

Then there are those balls that are like glass – once you drop them, there’s a lot of glass shards everywhere and you have to clean it up at once before somebody else gets hurt. Human relationships are like that. You have to be really careful not to drop them, because you cannot mend them. I haven’t dropped any of them during the last few months but the one that I dropped almost 5 months ago was a big one and there are probably still some glass shards hidden somewhere. I put a lot of effort into keeping the remaining ones in the air. I can’t afford to drop any more. That means that I may sometimes let the other balls fall but the glass ones have to stay in the air.

And then there are those blissful moments when I can forget all about juggling, even if just for a while. 

A moment on the beach. Staring at the small black stones that make up the Santorini sand and listening to the waves crash on the shore. And not thinking absolutely anything.

A late-night stroll through the village, walking the dog. White walls surround me protectivly, like saying, it is OK to be imperfect. The world loves you even if there are no more clean plates in the kitchen and the the job has taken all the sleep (or sleep has taken all the job).
I walk through the centre of the village, greeting taverna-keepers on my way. That’s what I love about Greece. The casual “Γεια σας, τι κάνεις” (Hello, how are you) with a smile. I breathe in the warm damp evening air and breathe out all my worries about juggling and responsibility and future and who knows what else. I am here now. I am inside a dream and not leaving anytime soon. Life is wonderful!

 

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