Why Finding Balance in Life is a Myth
(and Other Things I Finally Figured Out)
Balance. We’re driven by our desire to attain it. When our time is divided equally between work and life, we believe balance will magically occur.
When we feel like we’re doing good work and our lives reflect our priorities, we think we have balance, which will make us feel happy.
But is this really true? Is there such a thing as work/life balance?
The past couple of years I’ve been working on the idea of simplifying my life in order to have more balance.
I traded my full time teaching job for a part time one so I could have more time for a life. But then I felt I wasn’t working enough, so I got another part time job. And I started writing. Then I created my blog.
So what happened when I continued to add more and more to my life? The elusive idea of balance came crashing down.
I’m back to square one now, not sure where to go from here. I enjoy teaching and working and writing. I want to continue to do all three. But how much to do of each plagues me on a daily basis.
I am trying to live a meaningful life, do good work, and grow as a person. And yet, the more I consider the idea of balance, the more I believe it is an untruth.
When we concentrate on doing something important, we put in time and effort to achieve it. When we put effort towards any one thing, something else has to give.
Here’s why I believe the idea of finding balance is a myth:
Work and Life Aren’t Separate
When I first entered the workforce, I had set hours that I had to be in the office. There were no cell phones or home computers. There was no option to work from home. There was no way to be available outside of work hours. When we physically left the work building, we were finished for the day.
Contrast that to the 21st century workplace. We have cell phones and internet that keep us connected 24 hours a day. We can work from home, receive emails, and take phone calls at all hours. It’s expected that we will catch up on work in the evenings at home.
The lines between work and our personal time have been blurred, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
The idea of two separate parts of our lives, work and home, don’t truly exist anymore. So if work and life don’t exist separately, then how can be they balanced?
Priorities Change Over Time
The myth of having balance in life makes everything seem important.
This is a lie. Everything is not important. In fact, most of the time, we spend the majority of our time focusing on one thing. Everything else gets less attention.
I had a conversation with my mom about how difficult I found it to be a stay at home mom when my children were young. I wanted to be home with my kids, but I was missing the adult conversations and intellectual stimulation I previously got from my work outside the home.
My mom told me to look at life as if it had many seasons. She pointed out that being home with my kids was temporary, and when my kids were grown, I would have more time for work. This season of my life was caring for and raising children. She was right.
My children are both in college now, and so my priorities are different than when they were small. I’m in a different season of my life, and how I spend my time is different, too. I didn’t really get it then, but it makes sense now.
It’s Impossible to Do Everything All the Time
When we make something a priority, there is a consequence that occurs that affects the other parts of our lives. A mom who has small children at home may not be able to devote as much time to a career as someone without children. An executive who works 80 hours a week may have to sacrifice personal goals in order to put in that time.
When one thing takes priority, other responsibilities get sidelined. It’s that simple.
So instead of trying to do it all, we need to choose what’s important now and let the rest go.
I’m slowly coming to terms with the idea that finding work/life balance is a myth. The best part about it is that I don’t have to feel guilty about all the things I’m not doing. Instead of feeling compelled to do everything, I can say yes to some things and no to others with confidence. I don’t need to do it all and you don’t either.
Let’s stop trying to balance it all — because balance is impossible. Let’s stop trying to give equal time to work and life. There’s just life.
What do you think? Can balance be achieved, or is it a myth? Share your ideas in the comments below! If you enjoyed reading this, please clap so others will see it.
Hope over to www.alifedesigned.net to read about more ways to simplify your life. Thanks for reading!