Life is not a rehearsal! We only go through life one time that we know about; that is, unless you believe in reincarnation and you are absolutely sure that you will return to the earth with bunny ears and furry coats. I jest, but I am one of those believers who believe that energy never dies; and since we are made up of matter and energy – more energy than matter – our energy gets recycled. Hence, we are all green and sustainable creatures.
But just for fun, let’s take it on faith that we have just one life to live. Major questions: how are we going to live our life on earth; what will be the quality of our lives; what values are we going to embrace; what will our priorities look like; what kinds of relationships are we going to nourish; are we going to bring children into this world and hope for the best. These questions are more than food for thought. Your answers will undoubtedly manifest themselves after 20 years of therapy. But if we are mindful of how we can sustain our mind/body/spirit connection, we can answer these important questions sooner than later and it will cost us nothing but our own sweat equity.
As a yoga practioner for nearly 20 years, I adhere to the ideal that life is a dance of energy and where you put that energy is truly, inextricably crucial for good health, well being and happiness. A yoga practice (more than once a week, please) is really a dance of energy, which produces balance, which produces joy, peace, tranquility and good sex.
Ah, yes, that’s my topic for this blog: balance. To be more specific: work/life balance. What does that mean, really? This concept is thrown around our zeitgeist faster than a barista can make a carmel macchiato at Starbucks. Joking. That takes at least 15 minutes now. Too much work produces stress levels you don’t want or can’t maintain; too much fun gets you in trouble with your work. But in our adult world today, it is more usual to be married to your work unless you’re getting an MBA at 40 and give yourself permission to party on. Too much work gets you tired, sleep deprived, slows down productivity, makes you old before your time and more cranky than Mr. Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol.” And your sex drive will probably be nonexistent.
What are your options to gain control of an otherwise crappy lifestyle? To be honest, you really don’t have a lifestyle when you are out of balance. So how do you prioritize and re-program yourself to spend more time with family, friends, hobbies, passions, travel or the dozens of things you wish you did like run a marathon or climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Help is on the way. I hate bullet points but my son says is a better way to communicate and be heard when you don’t have time to listen:
- Take a self-assessment inventory and reflect on your skills, talents, achievements
- Track your time
- Take advantage of your options as in “I’ll take those flex hours or a compressed work week anytime”
- Learn to say no.
- Actually leave work and go home. Forget the football game at the bar because you’ve got a TV in your living room.
- Manage your time better. I’ve seen more people try to do too many things without results. Limit time-consuming activities.
- Find friends to help you when you absolutely need a favor. I’m only advocating this when it’s momentarily crucial to your life.
- Take better care of yourself. I’ll say it better. Love yourself more. Give yourself gifts every day. Like yoga. Like volleyball.
- Set daily intentions, not goals. Intentions are easier to accomplish. Goals are far in the future. Dealing too much in the future can be harmful to your mental health.
It’s time to stop just getting through the day and not remembering the day. It’s time to get off the treadmill of work because you are losing your personality and your good looks. It’s time to stop falling behind in your life because you only have one life that you know of in this form; specifically homo sapien.
Remember there are no silver bullets. Achieving a work/life balance is a process, oftentimes slow and unrelenting. One way of solving this situation is to turn the negatives into positives every chance you get. Don’t label the results; in fact, don’t look for results. Always ask what you can learn from your situation and look for the good. So stay in the present, be aware, alert, conscious and your life will not be a rehearsal for the next one. It will be the real deal.