The idea of work/life balance doesn’t make any sense to me. First off, we’re assuming that somehow life and work are different things that need to balance out. In reality, we all just have one life and work just happens to be part of it.
Second, we’re assuming that work is something that makes everyone unhappy, therefore, we need to balance it out with other things. If work is making you that unhappy, I would recommend finding a job that makes you happy versus doing more “life” things.
Instead of trying to find a balance between work and life, why don’t we just make decisions that make us happy? Every day, every hour, every minute, we make life choices, why not make sure those choices are making us happy regardless of whether they may or not be “balanced?”
The hard part about this is that you need to decide what truly makes you happy and what you’re willing to do achieve that happiness. There are consequences to every choice and you can’t rely on anyone else to decide what is or is not important to you.
The interesting part of this, too, is, what makes you happy can change. What makes me happy today isn’t what made happy 10 years ago, and it won’t necessarily make me happy 10 years from now.
Right now, work makes me happy – not all the time or every single day. But overall, I love what I do and there are days when I’m at the office until 6:00 or 7:00 at night or when I work on a weekend because I’m excited about what I’m working on. And then there are days that I go home early or don’t work at all because my family or friends are just more important that my work. It may not be a perfect balance, but it makes me happy.
I haven’t always made the right choices – there are definitely times when I thought something would make me happy, but it doesn’t or the cost of my happiness isn’t worth the unhappiness it’s caused someone else. But I will always choose what I think is right and learn from the wrong choices I make.
But what I am saying is that we have to stop putting pressure on ourselves to find this magical “balance” because it doesn’t exist. We also have to stop thinking that what makes one person happy is going to make us happy too.
What does exist is the choice to be happy, we just need to be brave enough to be honest with ourselves about what that is and choose it.
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Work-life balance? I mean, is there even such a thing anymore? Sure, you can set up an automatic “I’m on vacation, leave me alone!” email responders. You can turn off Slack notifications. Hell, you can completely unplug if you really want. But we all know that’s a cruel mirage, because most of us will probably die alone, phones in hand, with the beginnings of a workplace email glaring at us from behind the terrible blue screen.
Let’s just all continue on the impending death march toward the dissolution of any boundaries whatsoever between work and play. After all, it’s only a matter of time before we’re all just working in pressurized glass chambers with weird protein tubes coming from every orifice, pretty much.
Oh, God. Someone hold me.