Does work-balance exist? I mean a real 50/50 balance between the two. We often hear the term work-life balance, and there are some who believe that this concept is a complete farce...that there is no such thing. I can't answer for the next person, and can't say if there is an exact 50/50 balance that does or can exist between the two, but for me for the last few years of my life, that concept was non-existent. In fact, I worked 7 days a week and there were some days when my sons didn't lay eyes on me. When I left for work, they were asleep, and when I came home from work, they were asleep. This, although I am not proud of it, happened quite a few times. Quite honestly, even when I was physically present, I was still absent, as I was still physically working, or mentally engaged and/or still carrying the frustration or problems of the day. My sons simply did not have my attention. And quite frankly, neither did my health. I didn't take time off to go the doctor because I felt pressure to be in attendance at work, AND it nearly cost me my life. My job was killing me! I gained an enormous amount of weight, I began to have migraines, and my health began to deteriorate...surgeries upon surgeries upon surgeries. I wasn't even paying enough attention to myself to realize that I had begun to have a trail of surgeries. Another colleague had to even point that out to me. My life was no longer my own. Had it been taken from me or had I willingly given it away? My sister began to tell me that I was not the same. She told me that my smile and my laugh had changed. They were beleaguered.
I've recently been on a quest to get my life back, realizing that no work or amount of zeros is worth me sacrificing my sons or my health. I've been very intentional about spending quality time with my boys. These years have rolled by so quickly and it is time that you can never get back. My oldest son graduated from high school and is about to be off to college several states away in just a couple of weeks. I'm finding myself grasping and holding on tightly to the time that remains. I've also been on a friend tour of sorts, being very deliberate and intentional in being sure to spend quality time with my friends and those closest to me. In sharing this time, many of them opened up about how I had not been myself and how I had gradually retreated over these last few years. I had become like a hermit crab drawing myself inside of a shell trying to protect myself. I've since walked away from that job, and while everyone will have an opinion about how those things played out, I DO NOT CARE! Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one. I had to do what was best for me and my sons. And it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. There is freedom in being able to walk away from those things that are not healthy for you. I went skydiving at the beginning of this year, and let me just say, it was an AMAZING experience. God gave me a different perspective. He let me know that while the work I do is very important, that in the grand scheme of things it's like the size of a kernel of corn. If I am not healthy and don't feel good about what I am doing as it pertains to my sons, it is for naught. The reality is, work will always be there, but the life that I build and live with my sons is more important and I need to be healthy to continue the work and to enjoy the fruits of my labor. And though I did walk away, and in some ways felt I was abandoning those I was leaving behind, I know that I did the right thing. My work and ministry still continues, but in a way that is healthy and beneficial for us all. It is now a win-win situation!
We can achieve balance, but it has be life-work balance, not the other way around. And this balance may not play out in terms of numbers, meaning 50/50, but it is our quality of life that will let us know if we are in balance or not.
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