It's never easy being an adult. And this month I've seen just how. Inspired by an episode of the TV show "Joan of Arcadia".
- •One ball: The CountryAs a journalist, it's harder to not be aware of the state of Venezuela. Even if I ignored politics, I still cover metro. I hear --and see-- families eating food from the garbage, endless cues for bread, no medicines, the insecurity, the useless utilities. And I wonder, like so many people, if the current wave of protests is enough. Because like the spurned lover, we've been hurt before.
- •Two balls: Your momSince her operation, mom had had a little trouble adapting to being limited. She's always been extremely active, and she's kind of a control freak. Since I'm the freelancer son, I can work from home. But that means my name is starting to get worn out. "Juan, please do my laundry"… "Juan, can you help me go to the bathroom?" "Juan, get dinner ready". The upside? I overheard this: "Oh you have no idea, my son Juan Carlo has been an angel."
- •Three balls: My jobsThe downside? It can be near impossible to get work done. I have two jobs, one divided into two versions. The first one, luckily, is very specific on when I'm needed. But I'm getting behind on the other one. Especially in one of its versions. It's not that I'm crazy about it, but it is my responsibility.
- •Four balls: My auntI live with my father's sister, my godmother. She has myeloma, a slight form of cancer in her spine. Chemo sessions four years ago affected her legs, so she's slightly unstable on her feet. The most recent bout has also affected a bit her eyesight. She has a pacemaker. She also has bouts of depression; her children live in Miami, and she hasn't seen her grandchildren in four years. She basically only has me and my dad here.
- •Five balls: My ladiesOne of the many reasons I want to leave Venezuela is because my girlfriend and her daughter ate waiting for me in New York. She's been unemployed for over a year, in spite of her talents as a graphic designer; she lives in a basement; she hardly knows anyone there. Her daughter is the owner of one of the biggest hearts you can imagine, but at seven and a half, she's starting to become a rebel. She asks a lot about her Bird Daddy; she misses him (me). I don't know when I'll leave. It kills me.
- •Six balls: My healthI've had a muscle contracture in my back that is messing up my left arm. I have high blood pressure. I haven't had any scares, but the stress of the last month has been making me sleep less.
- •Seven balls: My passionsI haven't gone to the movies in nearly two months, both because of lack of time and money. I haven't found the time to sit and read one of ten books I want to read. This is the most I've written in three months. The novella I started writing continues to await. I haven't gone to the beach,a park, gotten together with friends.Thank God for my origami, but I miss just sitting and doing something I love.
- •How do you not go crazy?I have this urge to help, to do well. To make people I care about feel well. And it's my mother. My godmother. My girlfriend. Her daughter. One very special li.ster. But I know I can't do it all. Not at once. But how do you categorize? How do you assign priorities? How, indeed?
- •You just... do.You do your best, and you work to make your best better. You follow your conscience. You remember what your family taught you about responsibilities. You know that your people got your back. You know they're grateful for what you're doing. You have good bosses (one being my brother's wife), who understand. And you've managed to respond, to some extent. And you make sure you take time for yourself. You take time to write this list. And you smile.