“Shakespeare is the happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance.” ~James Joyce, Ulysses [Well, that explains my perfectly healthy Shakespeare addiction.]

I wanted to take gymnastics lessons. It was fifth grade. We were back in the U.S. for a year… West Virginia, this time, and suddenly gymnastics seemed like a very good idea to me. It seemed like a good idea for every girl under the age of twelve at that time. The year was 1984 and the words “Olympics” and “
Mary Lou Retton” and “Gold Medal” were still echoing across the country. My new very good friend was already enrolled in gymnastics and she didn’t seem very athletic to me… but I was already an athlete. True, I was a runner and Carl Lewis was, in my mind, the true American hero of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. But, nobody offered track lessons for a ten year old. Dummies. If gymnastics gave me something sports related to do for a year, gave me time with my friends AND offered me the opportunity to one day get my face on a Wheaties box then I was going to do it.

I learned three things from my gymnastics experience that year.

1. I was incredibly strong for a 10 year old girl.
I had the capability to hold my own body weight for a very long time. I never really found out how long because I’d be hanging on a bar or holding myself up in a seated position from the parallel bars and eventually the instructor would make me get down. Could I have stayed there indefinitely? We will never know. And pull-ups (not the diapers)? No problem! How many do you want? 30? 50? More? (Ah, youth.)

2. Not all athletes are physically flexible.
Months of stretching and practicing and stretching and practicing and I never could master a back bend or the splits. Ow.

3. I had great balance.
Day one: I hopped up on that four inch balance beam and jaunted right across it. Cool.

My… things do change in twenty-five years.

1. My strength is debatable.
I don’t feel strong. Physically… yeah, sure. I’m out of shape, but I’m still really strong. Emotionally? Mentally? Not so much. I have friends who have known me forever (Ahem,
The Phobic Mom) who would argue this point with me… to the metaphorical death. I’ve been told by a number of them that I’m one of the strongest women they’ve ever known. “After all you’ve been through….” Sigh. Appearances, they lie.

2. I have way too much flexibility in my personal life.
I know. Flexibility can be a good thing. Not in my case. Not now. I’m a single-mom. Some sort of schedule adherence would be nice. Yes, we go to school and work… but outside that? Wheeeeeee! We fly by the seat of our collective pants which usually ends up costing more than my budget (If I followed a real budget. See my problem?) allows. The idea of organization appeals to me. At work I have things color coded and everything has its place. Why, oh why, can I not implement this sort of thing in my personal life? If I don’t get it together prior to going back to university… Oy vei! Good intentions, they fail.

3. I can’t find the balance.
“Balance of what?” you ask. “Anything,” I answer, “I can’t find the balance of anything.” Put me up on the four inch balance beam of life and I’m going to come crashing down instantaneously. Balance, she is an elusive bitch.

How do you find the balance?

And… somehow varsity letters in track, basketball and field hockey still don’t make up for the lack of having my own Wheaties box. Maybe Weight Watchers needs a new spokesperson…

Photo credit:
RyanWilke via Flickr.


  1. Balance...if you find it, let me in on the secret, please.

    So, again with the parallels...we were in the US (NC) for my 5th grade year. I talked my parents into tap and ballet lessons. What the hell was I thinking?! I learned I do NOT have natural talent or grace. Always wanted to be graceful.

    And you're stronger than you know...or accept.

  2. Balance....what is that?


  3. Maybe you are looking for the wrong type of balance. Balance in life is unique to the individual. It's more about feeling like you have the right mix rather than treating everything equally.

    Make priorities and focus on those. Let go of the little shit that's not important. That's how you find balance. And remember that it takes practice.

  4. "Balance, she is an elusive bitch."

    I sooooo relate to that, and various permutations:

    Balance, you are my bitch.

    Why bitch about balance? You are or you aren't. Wait a few minutes - or get up and turn around like a cat before settling in again - and the weather will change.

    I think that peace is good and balance is over rated, but there are days (weeks! months!) when I want more of both.

  5. Thanks, all. I don't know what I need... but I do need something. =(

  6. Can I just say that I love your writing?

  7. Bybee ~ Thank you, luv. I REALLY needed to hear that just now.

  8. I know I don't comment often... but that's mostly because I don't feel like any words I could use to reply wouldn't be worthy of how awesome I think you and your musings are.

    I find myself wanting to be your friend... in the sit down and drink coffee with you and ask you endless questions and have you tell me all of the things I only have the opportunity to read about.

  9. Jenn ~ And I you, my dear. If I make it to the tri-state area... we are destined for a coffee date.

  10. Goodness I know all about seat of the pants budgeting lol.
    Though I have to say at nearly 49 I'm much better.
    Be sure to swing by the group site and get in on the She Who Blogs anniversary doings.
    Contests. Drawings. Prizes. Yay.


"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman


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