The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg – may her memory be a revolution – left us with many rich legacies. One of them is the metaphor of balancing home life and work life through the image of juggling balls, some glass and some plastic. The way the judge explained it, we are all juggling many balls all the time. Some of the balls are glass, and some of the balls are plastic. The idea is that we inevitably drop some. We can’t avoid that. But we can try to mostly drop the plastic ones and take a bit more care with the glass ones.
For people living with Fibro, this means making daily decisions around which balls get juggled and which get dropped. This could mean that the ball of cooking dinner gets dropped (plastic!) because the ball of helping your children with homework (glass!) needs to be juggled. The ball of grocery shopping gets juggled with the ball of managing finances (both plastic and glass). It can also mean that we need to change certain balls into glass and others into plastic, in order to keep the glass balls aloft. For example, maybe exercise has always been plastic – usually dropped – but now has become glass. And maybe cleaning your house has always been glass, but now needs to be plastic.
In recognizing that we all have a limited number of balls we can keep in the air at once, it is crucial that we understand this lesson. Priorities change, and it is in our hands to change them. And if you can imagine being a supreme court justice with cancer and broken ribs, who continues to go to work until nearly the day she dies, then you can also imagine the importance of keeping everything in perspective.
May we all keep the glass balls safely in the air and recognize that we can allow the plastic ones to drop. There is time to pick them up later.