The story of the five balls

jugglerI have been asked numerous times over the last several years why I quit my job as a newspaper editor to become a bookkeeper.

In order to give you an answer, I must tell you the story of the five balls.

The story of the five balls comes from the book, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, by James Patterson

This is the storyof the five balls:

Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls-family, health, friends, integrity-are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have the beginnings of balance in your life.

I truly loved my job as editor of two community newspapers. I thought what I did was important. You see, newspapers are vital to the life of the community. They provide useful information to their readers such as when highway repairs will be completed, or what time the band concert will be, or what day the library is holding its story time, or when the community will be holding its craft show, yada, yada.

Newspapers are also the official record for births, deaths, graduations, engagements, weddings, business openings and closings, etc.

Newspapers cover governmental meetings and police beats. Newspapers write about the crime in the area and about the little old lady down the street that skydived for her 80th birthday.

So, I loved my job. The problem was that I had a super small staff, so I was constantly on the go attending events, writing stories, laying out pages, selling advertising, etc. I typically worked 70+ hours a week.  Oh, I realized I shouldn’t have, but I believed the job was that important. I had to give it  my absolute best to make it the wealth of accurate information that I thought it should be.

So, even though I knew the story of the five balls, even though Brian and I gave up corporate jobs earlier and moved to the country to get some sanity back in our lives, I neglected to heed the lesson because I loved my job. And, the harder I worked to keep that work ball in the air, the worse my health became. And, I had no time for family or friends. I neglected the people most important to me and I ignored the house and ignored the garden and rarely had any fun living.

So, after much consideration and cajoling from those who loved me, I finally quit.

 And, although I still stay very busy, my life finally has balance.


11 thoughts on “The story of the five balls

  1. Hey, little peep. I’ve heard your story about the 5 balls before. It has helped me through some rough times and will help me now as I decide what to do with my eye problem. Keep on reminding me of what is important in life and say a prayer for me that I make the right decision. Love you sister, big hugs and kisses to you and my other sister peep as you laugh and enjoy each others company. Wish I was there.

    • You are here in spirit, sister, girl! We’ve been thinking about you. Know that you are always in our thoughts and prayers.

  2. I went to school for journalism. Then I switched my hat over to English teaching. Then I had Thomas. Now I’m a full time writer.

  3. And when she says small staff that is no exaggeration. For a time the “staff” consisted of herself and daughter. Thank goodness for Daneen! Oh, by the way, the daughter was in charge of the comic strip and crossword puzzle page!

    • Carrie, Yes, in addition to the many hats you wore in the industry – admin. asst., reporter, advertising rep. – you were also entertainment editor! Put that on your resume!

    • Carrie, I remember my first day. I immediately loved you and your mom and was looking forward to a “fun job” (it certainly wasn’t the money!) I thought the three of us would work hard, but I knew we would work well together. Then, the other shoe dropped…the three of us would soon be a thing of the past…you were both leaving! I was crushed. I still wish those days could have lasted at least a little longer. I think we would have had a ball working together.
      P.S. I also think we would have put out the best editions that newspaper had ever seen or will ever see!

      • We DID put out the best editions that newspaper has ever seen… in between all the laughing that is! Rhetorically speaking….Ha!

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