I think all of us have been guilty, to some degree, of losing sight of what’s truly important. Here’s a hint – it’s not how many hours you work. That’s not to say you cannot, or shouldn’t, derive great satisfaction from the work you do – it just shouldn’t be how you define yourself.
Human beings are meant to be multi-faceted creatures, we each have gifts and talents – it’s what makes us wonderfully unique. Sometimes those gifts are fairly obvious; for example Michael Jordan, and other times much more subtle requiring exploration and an open-mind to find. Self-actualization, while important, isn’t today’s topic though. Today my focus is more about harmony – achieving that “work-life balance” we hear so much about.
Personally – I don’t think most of us will ever achieve a true balance, but what’s important is we try. There are going to be times when you have to work late because there is a major project or something similar – and not every scenario will be within your control. 20 years in the Navy meant a lot of missed birthdays and anniversaries, and I wish I could say I made it up by really being “present” when I was around – sadly I did not.
It’s hard, sometimes, to keep perspective when we’re being bombarded from all sides by everybody else’s opinion and lifestyle choices. It can make us wonder “are we doing it right?” Perhaps we are insecure about a relationship or our position at work, so we compensate by working harder. Or perhaps we go the other way, thinking “well I’m screwed no matter what, may as well have fun”. But neither of these are constructive solutions, nor do they address the core issue. When we have children we raise them to be honest and forthright – where does that go when we become adults?
There is a point to all this rambling, I promise. Life, like so much else, will give you what you put into it. Balance is important, but it’s up to you to control that balance. If work or school is too much, ask yourself why you’re doing it. I don’t have a “right” answer for why you should do something, but it should matter to you. It’s never too late to take a moment and just “be”; took the passing of my wife to help me realize there is much more to life than work. What relaxes you? Is it running 10 miles before most people wake up, or watching Netflix with your significant other until 2 am? Whatever it is, make sure you incorporate it into your life – don’t let it go.