Many people talk about having a work-life balance. I’m not one of them. I don’t believe in a work-life balance. Life and work are too messy to be in balance. The two can’t be placed in some sort of ledger and be made to cancel each other. They are not parts of an equation that can be balanced. I’m not even sure that they need to be balanced, at least not in the way the word “balanced” usually is understood.
When I talk about work and life, I talk about leading a fulfilled and purpose-driven life. I talk about living an abundant one. I talk about living in tension between one’s wants and needs. I talk about sacrifice. I talk about ebb and flow and seasons. I talk about enjoying the here and now instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past (This an area that requires my constant attention. I’m a worrier and a perfectionist. Worry and regret can become constant companions if I’m not careful.). I don’t talk about tally marks or about putting everything in alignment.
Far too much energy is spent trying to balance work and life. The energy should be spent elsewhere. The two can’t be balanced. They aren’t based on some sort of a deposit and withdrawal system, although they can come to feel that way. Too many withdrawals leaves one impoverished, often in both work and life. Too many deposits, and the result can be the same. Work is not the opposite side of life. Work is the means by which one can enjoy life, and it even can be a part of the joy found in life.
Photo: Betsssssy (CC BY 2.0)