A pursuit of work-life imbalance.

…Work-life balance seems to be an ideal state to arrive…

Every night, I would strictly break my next day into hours and ensure that my daily schedule encompassed the four essential facets: work, health, relationships, and self.  Years by years, I felt disappointed whenever I missed any of my to-do lists.  Your eyes may roll back and you probably want to yell at me: You are too intense!  Take it easy! It’s okay… Mistakes happen every now and then… Chill out!  

Taking on more responsibility at work while trying to keep up with my other three cores, I’ve recently felt off the equilibrium path.  Not too long ago that I realized… the pursuit of balance severely disturbed my emotional stability, sleep patterns, and people around me.  I had been too hard on myself all along…  Things crashed; I must accept the fact that I won’t be able to achieve the perfect state of work-life balance (perhaps not in this lifetime).

Cumulative stress urged me to increase time spent on myself and try to make sense of life.  I imagined my next ten years down the lane; what is the most important thing and meaningful to me?  Because time is a limited resource…  I shouldn’t treat it like an endless surplus in the day, and neither should anyone.

Lessons learned along the way…

// Realization //

During the past few months, I was coped with stress and barely had enough sleep, let alone carving out time for fulfilling relationships.  (No matter how much I wanted to keep things in place and make sure everyone was content, I ended up destroying everything.)    

Admittedly, I was exhausted… and often thought that I should be by myself, instead of constantly hurting the other part.  I have mostly struggled with a love relationship.  Perhaps I have never looked at it as my priority.  Well, I’m not heartless.  I do have feelings…  My longest relationship was 5-6 years with a soulmate who is now my best friend and still sweet as pie!  I used to believe that it’s all about being with the right person who vibrates at the same frequency at the right moment.  In reality, things might be a lot more simple than that.. and I was the one who fathomed the dark and deep ocean..

Observing the self preferences, I might be a person who craves freedom and flexibility in life.  I can’t keep up with the fixed sets of routines as many couples do.  Unfortunately, I hadn’t noticed these small issues until I gave myself space and time to reflect on them.  After a while… I gained conscious and perceived the basic problem of everything… I haven’t kept an eye on myself since the beginning, thereby often feeling guilty when I don’t have enough time for my loved ones.

// Time for self //

Admit it!  We are so busy all the time and oftentimes we can’t even find any good reasons to backup our hectic lives!  Aside from work, we want to have fun, relax, and fulfil our passions right?  I’m also like that…  I want to do everything and achieve EVERY of my daily goals.  Without realizing… I’ve slowly turned myself into a fiend due to the lack of time for myself. 

Although 7-9 hours of sleep would be ideal for adults (18-64), I’ve never slept more than 7 hours in a very long time.  Anyhow, I believe that we all need a good quality of sleep cycle.  For me, bedtime rituals like putting down phone and other electronic devices at least half and hour before going to bed, adjusting to ideal light and temperature, and reading a book help me fall asleep faster.  I’d rather need 5-7 hours of good sleep, than 7-9 hours of a hard time sleeping throughout the night. 

I heard that the human brain can’t naturally multitask.  Unless those tasks are considered to be second nature, we can simply do one thing at a time to be productive and effective.

Given that we shouldn’t multitask REAL thoughts, we can switch our mind from one to another or back and forth very quickly if we know the patterns and pay attention on what to do at the moment.

Carving out personal time, I still workout, get 6-7 hours of restful sleep, work, and perpetually practice creative outlets.  I will attempt to be mindful and not to get overwhelmed from now on…  Those sixty-to-ninety-minute sessions of workout have been shorten (to sometimes only 20, without feeling guilty).  If my schedules are jam-packed, I shall take it easy with my workout and activities on those days.   

Lately, reading and writing have been the fundamental practices of my meditation.  When I’m stressed, I habitually turn on my laptop.  Oftentimes, words don’t come out as I wish!  and my stress hasn’t gone until I start typing and calm the little demons in my head… 

// Identifying self values //

When I hear people complain that they don’t have time to do this and that. I don’t buy it..  Unless, you work three jobs a day or have three kids, that thought may make sense.  Yet I have recently dropped that perspective seeing that.. work-life balance means different things to different people based on personal values and variables.  I’m no one to judge! Then I looked back at myself in the mirror, I used to be a perfectionist, who wanted everything to be PERFECT…  I  customarily set my expectations high in all circumstances.  When things didn’t go as plans, I panicked big time! 

But guess what..

A part of me still embraces that same old person… It’s who I am, even if I feel like I’m nobody.. I’m not a goddamn superhero..  I’m just a human being!  But without those values, I feel hopeless and lose inspiration to live life to the fullest.  I should be true to myself as much as I can as I can’t visualize doing something in a doubtless way.  Having a second-guess on things isn’t my nature. 

If two persons happen to communicate and identify their needs, will the lost feelings come back?  I guess I’m just too stubborn and absorbed in the idea of having an organic relationship that signifies non-repetitive patterns.  It shouldn’t be a one-side relationship that one is left waiting for the other, so s/he becomes sensitive and insecure.  If that happens, perhaps their needs aren’t equivalent and ready to go through changes.  Given that they get emotional and try to fix the broken glasses, the true colours will show over the long haul.. inescapably…  Will they be able to accept those minor flaws of the other part?  or Will those tear them apart later in life?  Nobody knows…

// Coexisting with fear //

As I went through a phase of stress and devastation, entangled thoughts swamped me.  Plus, Raincouver is back and invites more traffic to our business.  My chaotic mind needs to be purified and let peace in.  So I could gather some thoughts and seek ways to make sense of life.    When I started doubting my progress towards the work-life balance, I merely saw a regression in every category.

It’s been quite a few years that I haven’t viewed work as ‘a job’.  Something deep inside of me speaks firmly: we are all meant to serve the world (even some small way).  In the shadow of status quo, many often ignores the fact that thousands of small changes can exponentially make a great leap forward.  I habitually go all in when we talk about work..  and remember that I used to feel so damn good about it.  Still and all, lately.. I have lacked of motivation and got annoyed easily.  I aspire to awake the previous version of myself.  Seeing that I haven’t seen the girl who was filled with passion and lighthearted personality in a while now… 

She left me because I had treated her poorly… 

The thought of moving on and forward scares the hell out of everyone. 

A risky path may need fear as a defence mechanism involved in decision-making process.  It reminds us to remember the risks and blur the personal obsessions.  As long as we don’t indulge in fear and carefully keep it aside, perhaps the scary facts can be quite a terrific company to have.

The joyful girl who had been wandering into the unknown might have somehow got lost in the wild.  I need to find her and take her home no matter how difficult and how long this may take.  Inviting her back, I found myself sacrificing a significant part of the room.  I need her as a source of inspiration, guide me to shift priorities, also perhaps.. arrange layouts and build adequate space for the missing piece of me.

This will all make sense if work-life patterns are off balance…  Fear is a consequence of a meaningful path…  I shall let time and courage coexist with fear while taking care of the rest…

2 Comments

  1. I am constantly planning. Adding more and more to my to do list, my mind always zipping to the next thing that needs to get done. I micromanage my life from the time my alarm goes off to the time I close my eyes for sleep. If things don’t work out as planned, I’m extra hard on myself. It. Is. Exhausting. I’m learning to be gentler with myself, more flexible as you said. Trying to figure out what work life balance means to my is scary. Just as you said, moving forward, moving on is terrifying for everyone. It means jumping into things that are still uncertain, unknown. I love the idea of embracing that fear and letting courage exist alongside it.

    You’re writing is beautiful! I look forward to reading more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your feedback Rose! At this point in my life, I don’t think work life balance can make me truly happy or successful. I’ve learned to do things that matter most to me as everything isn’t necessary equally. Work life balance seems to limit many possibilities that my life wants to reach, so do multitasking actions… Yet it is important not to go in the extreme path of either work or life, because eventually we all need both dimensions to be content and coexist as a community. So let’s see if we can focus on what matters most at the moment, while allocating appropriate time (oh and not too concerned with getting the exact balance) between a professional and personal life, shall we? :)

      Like

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