This was my view last weekend flying into Dublin. It looks…peaceful, right?
This weekend, I’m hosting Easter. I’m tired and frazzled, and I have massive stacks of work to do. But I want to see my family of friends that I’ve barely seen this year. We used to see each other almost weekly, and now, we barely see each other with any regularity.
I am not unique in questioning the achievability of a work-life balance. But I think people get bogged down in looking at the idea of “balance” in too much of a day-to-day sense — i.e., are my DAYS balanced? Do I get enough family/friend/leisure time on a DAILY basis?
I’m not sure that is the right way to look at it. In fact, I get extremely irritated when I say that I’m busy with work right now, but will another time work, and I get a dismissive response like, You can’t take it with you! Don’t you think it is more important to spend time with your friends and family? No one on their death bed wishes they’d worked more!
Please keep that kind of attitude to yourself.
I think that looking at it in a more holistic way might be more practical, i.e., is my LIFE balanced? On the whole, do I get enough time to do things I want to do, even if this particular week or season is weighted too heavily in one direction or another?
To suggest otherwise would be to say that CPAs have a “balance fail” during busy season. Or that an attorney who is completely sucked into one litigation or deal has not achieved “balance” when the work is cyclical, and maybe during the “off” season, that lawyer works significantly less.
In my case, my life does tend to be more heavily weighted towards work these last few years. But I’m happy with what I do. I find it fulfilling and challenging, and I enjoy it — even when I wind up travelling for long periods, or things don’t go the way I want, or I get really negative feedback on something I’d worked hard on, or…I can’t spend enough time with my friends and family.
Will I wonder whether I could’ve worked more when I’m on my deathbed? Probably not.
Will I look back and think: I worked really hard, and I did good things, and even if I didn’t always get to spend my time the way I wanted to, I am satisfied with the work I have done?
I get sick of the same old song-and-dance trotted out by people who don’t like and/or can’t relate to the balance I choose. I get sick of being told what I will regret. Because I don’t regret the long hours spent working; I don’t regret the many, many flights I take; I don’t regret the moments of insanity trying to schedule things. I’m sad that I’ve missed events and weddings, and what have you, but I don’t…regret it.
We choose how we balance ourselves out. The balance might not look the same for every person, in ever circumstance, in every season. And the fact that I am frazzled, and frantic, and seeking peace in this season — this year to date! — of chaos doesn’t undo the bigger balancing act I’m working to achieve.