Juggling in Public

Winter was long and cold; spring was slow in arriving. But once it did, I had the urge to go for a walk and spend some time sitting by a nearby pond, enjoying the weather, while I thought and journaled.

While I was there, I saw a man in his maybe 60s show up with a bag of juggling equipment. For most of the time I was there, he practiced in the grass.

I thought it was a little weird.

After a while, a group of four people who looked to be in maybe their early twenties walked by, but stopped to talk to him and ask him about what he was doing.

“What made you want to do this?” one of them asked.

Mid-life crisis,” he answered.

I was too far away to hear most of their conversation, but one of the young men asked him if he could try it, and the man let him, and gave him some tips on what to do. After a few minutes, the group went their own way and the man continued practicing his juggling on his own.

In Daring Greatly Brené Brown writes:

To put our art, our writing, our photography, our ideas out into the world with no assurance of acceptance of appreciation–that’s also vulnerability. To let ourselves sink into the joyful moments of our lives even though we know that they are fleeting, even though the world tells us not to be too happy lest we invite disaster–that’s an intense form of vulnerability.”

Practicing juggling in public seems vulnerable to me; anyone could walk by and see him doing something pretty unusual, but it didn’t bother him, and he even welcomed the interaction and questions of these people. They may never see each other again, but for a brief period of time, they shared something, because he was willing to (in my opinion) look a little silly, doing something important and meaningful to himself. For a few minutes, these random, unconnected people connected over something most unusual: public juggling practice.

We interact with a lot of people everyday, but we don’t often connect with them. Most of the time, we’re too afraid to be vulnerable, to juggle in public. There are a lot of reasons for this, and you all should just read the book, because it’s one of the best I’ve ever read. So many of us are missing connection with people, and don’t know how to change that, but it is possible.

We just need to be able to juggle in public more often.

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