I, recently, told someone that I've never been older and I've never worked harder. Of course, none of us has ever been older than we are at this moment, however, that's not exactly what I meant. I think what I meant was closer to "Why am I working so hard at my age?"
I never thought of myself as a workaholic, in the past, and frankly, although I've always worked hard, within a finite amount of hours, until February 2013, work never overtook my life. In early 2013, I was preparing the launch of my new company. From that time until late May of this year, it feels as if I've been working, non-stop, and, in fact, I pretty much have.
It doesn't matter whether that was a good or a bad thing because it was what I felt that I had to do to accomplish the "lift-off" of my business. At times, it was very enjoyable and exciting; at times, it was frightening and depressing; and, many times, it was downright exhausting; however, there was no way around it, if I wanted my business to succeed.
On Memorial Day, I had plans to meet a friend for lunch and a movie in the UWS of Manhattan. On the day that we met, the weather was glorious: sunny and not too humid or hot. I had worked the entire weekend until Memorial Day. I was glad that I had plans to meet my friend as, had I not made plans, I wonder whether I would have done more work. My friend is very funny, very bright, and a very good conversationalist. I really had a blast with her and we saw an interesting Spanish film about revenge. The film left us with plenty to talk about, not that either one of us needs to be prompted to talk.
I realized after that wonderfully fun day, that I had been denying myself enjoyment during the start-up phase, not purposely, but probably because I was afraid that if I took some time out for fun, I would lose my focus. Well, I discovered that I didn't lose my focus and the day of fun that I had with my friend was like the medicine that one, sometimes, needs to take to cure an illness. It was very necessary.
We're always hearing from life coaches, TV hosts, and shrinks how important balance is. It can be very annoying to hear that when you really have no time for yourself as you're either (1) taking care of your kids (2) trying to make time for your husband or for dating (3) working full-time and/or (4) involved with health care decisions for a parent or two. It seems as if the word, balance, is a foreign word with no discernible meaning.
I can tell you, from first-hand experience, that having a balanced life is as important as being healthy and helps you, almost as much as exercise does, to remain healthy. Having interests other than your career helps you enjoy the time that you spend working more. If all you do is work, you begin to resent your career or job and, if you're not being as successful, at your career or job as you'd like to be, you wind up not feeling that good about yourself.
For those of us who are self-supporting and have to work, which is true for many of us, it is essential that we enjoy the work that we do. I love what I'm doing for a living, however, when I work too hard, I don't love it quite as much. For example, this weekend, I spent most of the time working, again, and was a bit resentful that I had no choice in the matter as I had a rush project to complete. To make up for the fun and/or r&r that I had missed, I took yesterday and today off.
You might wonder why I'm writing a blog post instead of hitting golf balls, going to the movies, going to a museum, etc. The answer is that because I'm not pressed for time, right now, and because I know that I'll have to write this post, anyway (I try to write one blog post a month), I really don't mind taking the time to do it.
That doesn't mean that I'm going to spend all day writing this post. It means that I'm going to take care of work and spend the balance of the day enjoying myself in whatever way I choose to do so. It, also, means that I'll enjoy whatever I choose to do, more, because I've completed some work.
Does that make me a workaholic? Perhaps it does. Am I happy or sad about the fact that I've become a workaholic? I can't answer that question because, much like an overworked housewife who is taking care of her kids, has a full-time job, and has parents who need her assistance, I do what I have to do.
Can I see myself in a better situation? Sure. I can envision a situation in which I'm working only 3 or 4 days a week and playing the rest of the time.
Would I ever give up working, entirely, if I could afford to do so? I don't know. Why don't you make me a good offer and we'll find out.