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I Learn From Juggling

On June 19, 2012 I was 79 years old, and starting to live my 80th year. I decided to write down Things I Have Learned So Far:

13. I learn from juggling

in 1979 I went to the national Clown, Mime, Puppet and Dance Conference and learned to juggle—in a simple way. I learned to keep three balls in the air. When I came back from the conference I carried my juggling balls with me and at the nursing home where I worked, I would whip them out whenever I had some free time and juggle for the residents. I was a beginning juggler, and they would shout their encouragement. I would count out loud the times the balls stayed in the air—1—2—3—4—and then I would drop one.

They would yell “Try to get it to 5 and I would start again. Eventually I got to 30 or 40 with them counting as a group. It was a wonderful combined activity for all of us.

During this time when I was practicing a lot, I wrote down some of the lessons I learned and decided they could be applied to my life too:

1. It looks easier than it is.

2. You have to start with a balanced stand—feet not too far apart—be balanced.

3. You start at the beginning with one ball, because that’s the beginning. It’s boring but it’s where you start. When you get that, you move to two balls. And eventually to three balls. If you move from one to two, or from two to three too quickly, you may have to go back and solidify the former.

4. You have to practice. If you don’t, you don’t get better.

5. You keep getting stuck—hitting barriers.

6. You have to learn when to put a new ball into the air. When you do that, you also have to learn to let go of an old ball.

7. There is a limit to how many balls you can keep in the air.

8. You keep learning new things from juggling.

I’ve slipped a little in my juggling skills—but I guess I’ve also learned that I can pick it up again any time I’m willing to practice some more.

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