ife Balance… we’ve all heard how we’re supposed to balance our daily involvements so they don’t go out of whack, and that maintaining balance in all we do creates harmony in our being, and harmony in our being brings good health, happiness…
I’ve lived long enough now to know from experience, both personal and otherwise, that experiencing life balance from one day to the next is almost impossible. If it isn’t the kids home from school with chicken pox which means your mounting files at work are abandoned for a few days, or the aging parent falling and thus requiring hip surgery, or the internet failing which brings an abrupt halt to your online business, or relatives invading your life unexpectedly, or the sudden argument with your loved one… daily life balance is skewed indeed.
Who hasn’t been subjected to seminars by well-meaning facilitators who show diagrams of how our daily lives are supposed to be managed! What we learn in those seminars is that typically, work/job/career is the Number 1 culprit for offsetting life balance!
Before moving forward with this topic, if you’re wondering whether or not this discussion applies to you, check out 11 Signs You Lack Work-Life Balance. If you’re a millennial, apparently there are only 9 Signs You Have No Work-Life Balance.
Much information floats in cyberspace about work-life balance, with the links at the end of this document hardly putting a dent in any cloud. The greater majority of articles out there deal with how important it is to have work-life balance, further listing numerous and satisfying outcomes for those that achieve it. Listed also are the hazards we get caught up in when ignoring it.
As you’ve probably guessed, I don’t believe work or life balance in our daily lives is achievable. That said…
Count Your Ones and Zeros
Productivity and wealth-building coach, Darius Foroux, approaches the issue mathematically. Calculating the number of hours one typically invests in ‘work’ (be sure to include commuting), and comparing that with the other things we fill a 24 hour span with, he proves the point that invested work hours are hardly equal to or in balance with the other things accomplished in 1,440 minutes.
Time becomes ever more precious to those of us on the back end of Life’s agenda, so there’s little need to bother chasing the concept that attaining daily work-life balance is plausible unless, of course, you’re freed of all the expectations and demands that arise in careers, relationships, financial needs, health matters, and so on. Daily life balance is a myth, and maybe even a scam.
We spend years struggling to give our family the best of ourselves while also delivering maximum energy towards our jobs/careers which subsequently provide shelter, food, and clothing—valued assets indeed. The end of the day comes and we pull together our snoozing body off the couch and slump into bed.
We do yoga, meditate, pray, exercise faithfully, eat nutritiously, and push through those tough days when everything goes sideways. We take an annual two-week vacation that reminds us life isn’t so bad. Then, it’s ‘back to the grind’.
We’ve saved enough to retire someday and really enjoy life! Ah, therein lies the rub. Life makes no promises. With long work days behind us, we’re now truly masters of our destiny… until stuff happens. Life stings!
Our System Unit
Whether or not you are healthy mentally, physically, financially and socially, these being the areas of concern for most investigators pondering the life balance issue, if one digs a bit deeper one discovers that what we really want is to be happy. Happiness and joy are key to attaining life satisfaction. To clarify—
Happiness: a state of mind, a fleeting feeling
Joy: a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope source that can itself be a source of happiness; an enduring, deep delight in what holds the most significance for us source.
Life balance is a lifelong, ongoing work in progress. It is malleable, ever changing from in to out and in again.
Accepting that happiness in our daily life is key to living well, western culture jumps to the forefront of delivering all the tools we think we need to make happiness our reality. Riding on the laurels of common phrases like, LIVE YOUR DREAM, YOU HAVE A RIGHT, or FOLLOW YOUR HEART, we have access to the best of vitamin supplements, recreational activities, dance/art/music lessons, mood lighting, designer TV shows, experts’ podcasts, an assortment of religious beliefs, all alongside a host of vacation opportunities that we’re told we simply must explore.
Life scams? Add up the dollars and cents involved in acquiring those tools and it’s easy to see that money is making our heads and world spin.
In spite of any comfort we might find in believing that our government, doctor, or God is taking care of us, attention to mental health is at an all-time high. In spite of access to the best of the best in a world of choice, we continue to be out of balance, or so we’re sold/told.
Looking back on life, we notice the phases when family absorbed most of our energies, absorbed our focus, time, spirit. We remember months or years when our job was all consuming, when meals and sleep were missed because of university exams, when our priority was to give comfort to someone in a hospital bed, when we partied relentlessly, when weeding the garden was essential, when traveling the world was our scene. We can also recall those times when our emphasis on these and the like robbed someone somewhere of our care and attention.
Upon reflection, were you generally happy during those phases? Did you find joy in your various endeavours? With the many challenges each adventure demanded, did you still land on your feet and keep on going? Did you love? Did you take photos displaying smiles?
When it comes to finding balance in life, think big, think about your life as a whole. Take a mental shot of the years already lived and check off the many accomplishments. As you look back, when things seemed out of balance on a daily level, acknowledge the successes overall. Think years rather than days.
I purport that happiness and joy are critical to knowing balance in life as a whole. We have the ability to control our level of happiness. We can make the effort to know joy.
It is the happiness and joy we find or create while navigating life’s many miseries that will balance our bodies, minds, and spirits. Joy will fortify when things are out of whack. Joy will brace us for the next battering life delivers. Joy will be what we are remembered for. Create happiness and culture joy… then will we know life balance.
Links to Explore
- How To Find A Job With Good Work-Life Balance
- Psychosocial Work-Life Balance
- Three Myths of Balancing Work and Family Life
- What is Joy and What Does it Say About Us Psychology Today
- Why I Don’t Believe In Work-Life Balance
- Work-Life Balance Cleveland Clinic
- Work-Life Balance Mayo Clinic
- Work-Life Balance Mental Health UK
- Work-Life Balance is a Cycle Not An Achievement