In the “About Me” section of this blog, I’ve described myself as a Christian, a husband, a father of three, an ancient history teacher, a PhD student and a keen kendoka. This is quite a bit to balance and I am often asked how I managed to do absolutely everything. I don’t really have a particularly good answer. There are times where it is tricky, I will admit. 2010 is a case in point. As I have mentioned elsewhere, 2010 was not a good year for me for a number of reasons – the birth of a baby daughter is NOT one of them, I hasten to add. Competing priorities meant that a number of things took a hit – kendo was one of them. My PhD also took a hit – to the tune of about 6 months in terms of productivity!
So, how do I intend to balance everything this year? That is the topic of this particular post. We are coming to the end of Term 1. We are, in fact, starting Week 8 (of a 10 week term) and Year 12 are about to sit their first set of exams. Marking deadlines and reporting deadlines will quickly appear. It is an appropriate point to think about how one keeps sane with everything that is going on. Term 2 will start in about a month’s time and that is traditionally considered to be a “make or break” term in New South Wales – certainly as far as Year 12 are concerned. There are no exams and so it 10 weeks of teaching.
There are five important parts to my life. God, family, work, PhD and Kendo. Giving each the appropriate amount of time is challenging, particularly when you feel that you might be neglecting one over the other. I have often described Term 3, 2010 as where things really slide out of kilter. Of all of the different areas of my life, there was very little that felt as if it was in control or behaving according to expectations.
Let’s bring this post back into line with its main theme – Kendo. With so much going on, how does Kendo not get lost in all the ‘chaos’? It is a juggling act, my life. Then again, who’s life isn’t? Somehow, it all works – but not without careful prioritisation and, with regards to family, negotiation. My wife knows that I need to have some time out from work and from study. She is very good that way. Kendo is the way out. Mind you, there seems to be a tacit understanding that if I am required at home (eg. the kids are loosing it completely and there is a distinct need for two pairs of hands over one) then all game plans change and I stay at home and help. This is not the norm, however. The fact that I am willing to do this means that more often than not, I do get to Kendo training and that is a good thing. There will be times where commonsense prevails. For example, there is too much school work to attend to and I need to stay back at night to sort it out – again, this is the exception and not the norm.
For as long as I can remember, Wednesday night has always been a night out for me. Kendo training has always been on a Wednesday night. It fits, then, with the natural rhythm of my family life and, for that matter, my work life. I can’t do kendo unless I have the support of my family and, really, at the end of the day that is how I manage the juggling act!