Careful! Don't Lose That Balance!

Whoa watch that balancing act you're trying to do today and every day, folks!  Make sure you're giving the right weight to what's really important or you're going to fall off that tightrope one day  . . .

Balancing is an art. No, I'm not talking about the guy who walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope, although that was quite impressive, and I'm not talking about the London Olympics (not yet!).  I'm talking about trying to balance life's million different things without losing your mind or going grey, except I'm going grey at the ripe age of 24. I'm at a point where I found my hands to be so filled that if I were walking on a tightrope, the rope might snap.

And on America’s birthday, my world stopped teetering on that tightrope, and I dropped this whole balancing thing.  Life reminded me, once again, to step back to the basics.  My Grandpa, who was 88 years young, passed away of lung cancer, much sooner than any of us had anticipated.

Worrying about making sure I get everything in my own life done was thrown out the window, and I realized, once again, how much more important family, friends, and loved ones are than anything else.

This isn’t the first significant death that I’ve experienced, nor will it be the last, but I’ve learned how I cope and what I need to do to make it through these tough times. But work, writing, blogging, even running, take a backseat during this time. As much as I love to write, I had to write the hardest piece that I’ve ever put down on paper in my life. Mind you, I did want to take on this role because I knew in my heart that this was something I needed to do for both my grandfather and my self.

I wrote the eulogy. I don’t want to share the whole piece, but just the most important part to me.

Yet there’s one moment that stands out in my mind. It was the second to last time I saw him, just the two of us, sitting by the window in the hospital. We talked about tomato plants that are now growing in the garden, about cooking, specifically Italian food, and about family. We laughed and chatted, something I’ll always treasure, but it was something that he said that will be forever imprinted in my mind.

“I’m proud of my family,” he said while staring out the window. “You know, some have made mistakes, but I’m really proud of this family.” Not one to make a strong statement like that, I knew that it came straight from the heart.

As I write today, I realize that making Grandpa proud isn’t always about balancing everything in life, but more about balancing the most important people in life: family and friends. So when you feel like you’re just trying to balance everything on a tightrope walk, always come back to what matters most:  The people.

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