The past two years were the first ever where I did not have the summer vacation of childhood, two plus solid months of nothing to do but live. Even when I held a summer job, it was summer, and nothing could ever be too serious when daylight stretched into infinity. Oddly enough, right now, with September towering before us like a tsunami, I feel all of the laziness and ease that I used to reserve for summer, brimming up to the surface for the first time all year. I’m ready for Fall. I’m ready to buckle down, I suppose, but more than that, I’m ready to shirk my blinders and see the full landscape of work and play.
I think many of us feel a shift in priorities around this time of year. It’s back to routines: brown-bagged lunches, curfews, family dinners, homework. The days are already growing shorter. There never seem to be enough hours in the day – I’m guilty of that thinking, too. How do we work, study, cook, clean, care for ourselves, care for others, discover new passions, and not lose our sanity?
A little while back, I was contacted by TheLadders, asking if I (and many other bloggers) would write a piece on the work-life balance conundrum, how to achieve our goals not just in the office, but out of it as well. This isn’t a sponsored post. I don’t really know much about TheLadders at all, but they sparked the idea for this post, and so I have to give credit where credit is due.
We’re going to get to the answers, or at least my answers, some answers, to how someone can begin to fit together all of the seemingly mismatched pegs of life’s five thousand piece puzzle. First, though, I have to say that I think all of that is meaningless unless we establish one very important thing: there is no such thing as work-life balance. There is only life, and filling it with things we love or finding ways to love the things we fill it with. No one should spend forty hours — or thirty-two, or eighty if you work for Amazon apparently — every week doing something that they don’t consider part of their real life. So the title of this post, its sole purpose, is really misguided. When we try to balance “work” and “life,” we’ve missed the point entirely.
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