Someone asked me, “Thuli ulala nini mara?” (“But when do you sleep?”) on social media. I laughed
and responded “usually at night”. A newly appointed PhD candidate who had interacted with me at
Nka’Thuto EduPropeller saw me at the University and had a conversation with me for the first time
and was shocked to learn that not only was I a PhD candidate too but was also employed
permanently at the university. I generally like getting into conversations with people as I walk to the
parking lot or in the elevator, even if it’s students I don’t know. This is probably because my mouth
gets restless if it’s not moving – I think talking is a hobby for me. Anyway, she (newly appointed PhD
student) went on to say I looked like I had everything under control. I obviously don’t! The point is, I
was asked this balance question enough times for the researcher in me to be awakened.

What is balance anyway? I asked myself. Suppose it’s the ability to manage various components or
tasks in your life – EQUALLY! Like those people in circuses who juggle several little balls in their hands
(I’ve tried doing this and I guarantee you it’s further proof of how pathetic I am at balancing stuff). I
went with that definition for a while. It helped me understand how so many would ask me about
balance because I do in fact have different roles, so it’s a fair question. I thought about how I
“balanced” everything and arrived at “As much as possible I try to tackle tasks when I get them,
especially the ones I can get out the way quickly. Those that need a bit more thought I write in my
TO DO list in my diary or input them as events in my calendar. Recently I even started inputting them
into my calendar as reminders. Doesn’t always help but I get most things done, I think (I submit
some things just as they are due or even slightly over the due date). Better late then never, the old
cliché pronounces…

But let me tell you why my life is not balanced. Balance: noun meaning “a situation in which
different elements are equal or in the correct proportions”. Elements of life include but are not
limited to; work, relationships, living (this is a real thing), family, friends, career development, love…
And sleep!!! The question posed to me about balance relates only to what people see me do where
work and my career is concerned. I think what people should rather say is “Thuli, your life can’t be
balanced, come let’s go out for a drink or something!!!”

If life has taught me anything it’s that “nothing is ever what it seems”…

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