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Monday, March 23, 2015

These Things Take Time

Every morning I make a list of things I need to do that day and most times I don't get everything on the list done. When I had a full time job the lists were longer and the number of things I didn't get done each day was longer as well. My good friend, Bernie, once told me the secret was to make the list manageable, 'do-able', and have it consist of a mix of the urgent and the long term. Without doubt, he is right, I just haven't got there yet.

I ran into a friend the other day who is on a self-financed sabbatical, and I asked her how it was going and she was ecstatic, enthused and over the moon excited with how her life was unfolding during the time she was away from the office. Someone asked her how she was going to manage the re-entry to the workplace and she paused and said, "I don't know how I am going to cram work in on top of all these other things I am doing," I think I understand exactly what she means

A few years ago, before I had given any thought to changing the focus of my life, a colleague was telling me about a mutual acquaintance who had some bad health problems."She tells me she spends a good part of her life, managing being well...exercise, diet, relaxation, meditation." At first blush it seems crazy, but the reality is that being sane, being healthy, simply being requires time, focus, energy and perspective.

Every day, my list includes some writing (both paid and unpaid), some planning, some exercise, some household maintenance, some effort towards personal growth, some thought to eating and being, some reading and just being with Debi. And at the end of that list, maybe just maybe there is room and time for the spontaneous and the unexpected. All of these things are essential to life, living and being and yet for so many years all of that was crammed around and into the niches and interstices of work.

Work is not unimportant but, for too many years in our lives, work is overwhelming and intolerant of everything else. There is a reason for the phrase`work-life`balance, a reason why work and life are separate entities in the accounts book.

Ironically, since shifting into the Third Phase I have been thinking about work more and more. I have been reading about and delving into how toxic work has become, how precarious and hard to find. Our children are finding the joys, opportunities and benefits of solid well-paying careers so much harder to obtain than most of us did and that both worries and perplexes me.

I know that work is important. I know that life outside of work is vital. I know that at different phases the issues around work change and morph. Trying to put all this together is yet another project I am adding to my list.

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