Forget Work / Life Balance…
Sunday was the Equinox, when the length of the day and the night are equal, and in balance. In nature, as in life, balance is rare. As a surfer, I hear a lot of talk about work / life balance and finding the time to surf but is balance what we really want? I know I don’t.
If they’re balanced, we sleep 8 hours a day, spend 8 hours working and have 8 hours for our lives. Throw in the extra tasks that always come in, tight deadlines, emergency meetings at work, travel, traffic, and then family meals, shopping, conversations, school / sports pick or drop off, school meetings, putting the kids to bed, getting ready for tomorrow, all that stuff, and there is not a lot of time left to surf!
So we use weekends, if there is not already something else arranged, a sports game, family visit, a trip to somewhere we do not want to go or something to do that we do not want to do. And, if there is surf, and we can go, we surf in crowds. And then it’s Monday again!
Work life balance assumes we place equal importance on our work lives and our private lives. It doesn’t account for our surf lives, and doesn’t allow us to surf as much as we may want. For that, we need to define what’s important to us, be it surfing, family, or work, and their relative importance. We then need to spend our time proportionately on those things.
Me? I want family time, and time with the kids, whilst they are young, surfing and playing together. I want to be able to surf when I want, with flexibility around the tide and wind and swell, and I want to work, but when I decide, enough to support the lifestyle I want but no more.
I’ve made my decisions and choices in life based upon those aims, and taken actions to ensure that’s the life I lead. It may not be the surf life I dreamt of when I was younger, but as a 49 year old, it feels like I am living the dream.
Forget Work Life balance, it's simply not enough!