Don’t Drop that Chainsaw; Put it Gently Away for a While

My husband has this analogy (metaphor?) he uses frequently—juggling cats and chainsaws. I think, to him, this activity actually sounds like fun. To me, it’s just a great image for those days when you feel like you not only have too many balls in the air at once, but that most of them have claws and teeth, motorized and otherwise.

Yes, you do know the days I’m talking about.

It’s so easy, maybe too easy, to keep adding things to our calendars. To our lives. Books to read. Movies to see. Workshops to take. Fun trips with our families or friends. Writing projects.

Writing projects we really want to do.

And pretty soon, we’ve got chainsaws flying, along with a Siamese, a Tabby, and a Manx we sure hope started out without that tail. We only have two hands, but the sky is filled with a half-dozen felines, way too many bright-yellow power tools, and…watch out for that electrical cord!

The other morning (aka the wee hours of the night, just past midnight), I took one of those chainsaws from my list and turned it off. It was a project that, I hoped, was going to get me started on a new learning curve. As I lay awake, I had one of those moment of clarity that you really wish came to you at noon, or even dinnertime, but never do. I said to myself, “Oh, yes. And when, exactly, do you have time, right now, for a learning curve?” You can guess what I answered.

I didn’t lock the chainsaw away. I just wound up its cord neatly and tucked the whole thing into its plastic case, then latched it shut. And I put it on the shelf. Not too high–I can reach it easily. And those latches are so lightweight; I can flip them open any time I want.

Just not, you know, this month.

Guess what? I went back to sleep. Was there disappointment? Sure, a little. Was there relief? Oh, you bet. Because, by taking one of my chainsaws out of the air, I get to keep the others running and save all those kitties that I love so much. Nothing’s going to come crashing down around me, nothing’s going to hit me on the head, and nobody else is going to lose a tail.

What about you? Are you juggling just fine, catching flaming torches easily between your teeth? Or is there one item you want to take a second look at, catch it gently and see if maybe, just for a while, it doesn’t belong in your routine? We each run in our own personal circuses, and I toast your act—whether it’s tossing two beanbags back and forth, or catching swords as you ride bareback on a pink-feathered horse.

Just, if you’re waking up too many hours before dawn, consider sliding one of those swords into its scabbard. 🙂


  1. Very timely post for me— I just found out about another project I could take on, very tempting, but how to fit it in with everything else? I can relate!


    • beckylevine says:

      Sometimes, it’s just worth it doing the extra. It’s figuring that out that can be tough. 🙂


  2. Hmm, does the fact that I’ve been waking up at 4 every morning mean I’m trying to do too much? Not really sure which chainsaw to put away at this point…


  3. Kathy says:


    Great post! Why are you so wise when I can’t let go of anything!


  4. Lydia Sharp says:

    Great post, Becky! I blogged about a similar topic today. It must be in the air… we all need a break!

    Love the analogy, by the way. Those poor kitties. 😉


    • beckylevine says:

      It’s probably allergies! I don’t know about you, but Spring has come to California, with pollen EVERYWHERE. 🙂

      Give yourself a breather if you need it.


  5. Jenn Hubbard says:

    Yes, at this point in my life, everything I do leaves something else undone.


    • beckylevine says:

      That’s about it, Jenn. I try and look it as a better place to be than years ago when I didn’t have enough things going on! 🙂


  6. Thanks Becky – awesome reflection on life and busyness. I’m glad you let one thing go so the others could thrive. Bless your kittens!


  7. Claudine says:

    I love this, Becky. Great analogy. I was thinking of a visual for myself today of all my projects: holding a large quantity of chocolate pudding above my head, without benefit of a bowl, but I like yours better.
    I have several quotes posted around my computer about busyness, and sometimes I even remember to look at them. Your post helped me to re-center.


    • beckylevine says:

      The chocolate pudding image is good, except that–you know–it would still TASTE good if it crashed! :)We all try to do too much–it’s okay, still we start going nuts.


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