In last week’s post, I mentioned life being about balance and compromise and I’d like to expand on that thought here. We rarely (if ever) get everything we want in life and there has to be acknowledgement that some give and take is almost always essential.
This is probably my main challenge in life – effectively balancing being a good husband and dad with work life and spending time on my own hobbies and things which are important to me. I can break these down into the following key areas:
Time with my wife and daughter.
Fundamentally, the most important part of life for me. The 3 of us are very close and we’re lucky that my daughter still lives at home, though, at 16-years old, I’m constantly thinking about just how long we have left as a snug little family of 3 living together. Regardless of that though, it’s a priority of mine to make the most of any opportunity the 3 of us have to spend valuable time together.
A difficult one. I’m currently busier than I’ve ever been during my working life and there are no signs that this will ease for at least another 2-years. Whilst working predominantly from home really suits me (I only venture into the office once a week or once a fortnight), the one downside of hybrid working is that work creeps more into my personal life. There is no defined start and finish time. My typical working hours are 06.30-17.00 Monday-Thursday (I work a condensed pattern and therefore cover my required hours in 4-days and take each Friday off) though I’m frequently logging on early, during the evening, or during my non-working day and the weekend. Usually it’s only for half-an-hour or so though it can often be for a couple of hours at a time. I’m not saying this from a resentful perspective – I don’t particularly mind as it’s nearly always necessary and I’m fortunate to be working on a significant programme of work which should stand me in good stead for the rest of my working days – though I do know that, in a Utopian world, this additional time spent working could be used to address things which are far more important to me.
My own interests:
I always harp on about there not being enough hours in the day and for good reason! There are so-called experts and influencers out there who claim that if something is important to us, we’ll find the time to do it, but what if some of us have a huge amount that is important to us? I’ve written many times previously about struggling to find the time to do everything I want to, such as reading, writing, listening to new music, creating music, getting fitter, visiting more places (particularly in the UK), watching movies and watching TV shows. If I had 24-hrs per day all to myself for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t cram everything in, so trying to find the time to do just a handful of these fairly frequently is difficult. Take books, for example. I love spending my time reading and it should be easy to find a minimum of just 10-15 mins every day to do this, yet we’re approaching the end of March and I’m just getting to the latter stages of my first book of 2023. That is appalling and frustrates the hell out of me but I just haven’t been able to read anywhere near as much as I’d like to have done so far this year. Something needs to change…
Friends and close family:
There are people I want to spend time with on a fairly consistent basis. Certainly my mum & dad, other close family members, and close friends. I get to do this to a reasonable degree. I see my mum & dad 2-3 times each week. I spend time with immediate family relatively frequently. I meet up with close friends fairly regularly and walk, go to gigs, the cinema etc. Though all of this could be better. For instance, I’ve only seen my niece’s football team play once this season and I haven’t yet seen my nephew’s team play (admitting that here makes me ashamed and frustrated). Also, whilst I see some friends quite often, there are others I haven’t seen in a while and we haven’t had a proper ‘lad’s night out’ in a long time (though trying to get all them together really is like herding cats these days). I always hear (and wheel out myself…) the excuse that we’re all ridiculously busy and life just seems to roll on by but is that really a valid reason not to see each other? Sitting here now and analysing this, it seems flimsy at best.
Ultimately, it all comes down to time and prioritising. Life seems to be a constant battle these days (in my head, at least) and achieving balance, despite that being a very simple concept to understand, is really difficult. I can’t add more hours to the day so there’s little I can do other than try to make it work but not spread myself too thinly. It isn’t a disastrous situation right now and therefore feels like yet another area of life where, rather than revert to type and beat myself up over it, I should acknowledge that it is what it is and try to find some peace with that. I find that really difficult though. How about you?
As always, thanks for reading and take care.