You know plate spinners, right? Those amazing people who spin all these plates on sticks. It's a circus act - dozens of plates up in the air. Audiences watch with anticipation - breath held, waiting for a plate to fall.
Some of us spin more plates than others. Some of us support the weight of other plate spinners - holding them on our shoulders, in the palms of our hands, on top of our heads - as they try to balance their own plates. We work together (or in spite of each other) spinning and balancing and sometimes a plate falls. Sometimes it feels like all the plates are going to come crashing down, but you slowly pick up the plates and you rebuild.
I have friends with different plates. I have friends with some of the same plates that I have and then they have even more plates. These friends take my breath away. I have one particular friend who has SO many plates and she spins them expertly. She's the person you want spinning plates with you. She will hold you up while standing on one foot and let you climb on top of her head if you need her to. If she spins a plate for you, she does it with all her heart. Your plate is fragile and important to her. I've never seen her turn away a plate, even if it is the ugliest, heaviest plate - a platter, really. She will take that platter and throw something amazing on it and you'll wonder why you didn't think of that.
I am lucky to have people in my life who recognize that I have a lot of plates. They also have a lot of plates. But they check on me and my plates. Sometimes they take them from me and sometimes they offer their support, or bring me a snack, or they give me permission to voice my frustration before they encourage me to get back to what I want to do. Sometimes, they encourage me to just put a plate down for a while (or forever) if that's what I really need to do to save all the other plates.
I hope that they know I would do the same for them, always.
This afternoon, I made myself a list of my plates. I stopped somewhere around 75, but I could have gone on and on. There are days where I beat myself up because I am not the person I strive to be. I don't always meet my high (impossible) expectations for what I "need" to be doing. I forget that I am pretty amazing - balancing all these "plates". Sometimes I might lose my balance, but I haven't broken any of my most fragile plates and I call that success.
Plate spinning isn't easy.