We all mostly want the same things: happiness and abundance. Now how you define abundance may be different than me, but I’m guessing it consists of having “enough” to enjoy life, having fulfilling and satisfying interests and having love and joy as key aspects of your life. Abundance to me is not accumulating the most wealth or the most things, but is something that I believe many struggle with in western society. Wanting these material items or money in the bank account as a scorecard to your success isn’t awful in and of itself (though it’s not the way I choose to live), but when you have to commit yourself to working harder or longer to have these things at the expense of other abundance, that’s really not a way to prioritize your life.
I believe most people tend to favor a balanced life, but I’ve known many who really, really love their work or what it offers them in the terms of monetary gains that they devote vast sums of time to it often at the expense of their families. Certainly all of us have times where work life tends to take a higher importance or where longer days are sometimes required, but I think in those cases especially, it is important to remember to prioritize why we’re working in the first place.
Commitment and family happiness, and my own happiness, are the top priority in my life. My wife has said I could be making maybe 20-25% more at another company, and I’ve been contacted about various other opportunities often enough, but those other opportunities come with sacrifices I’m not willing to make. More time traveling, longer hours, more stress and pressure. As I sit here on Good Friday enjoying a floating holiday my company offers, I’m extremely grateful for the work-life balance my work offers and is a benefit beyond money. It allows me to enjoy life, while still working at a job that I usually enjoy. But I compartmentalize, realizing that having a job isn’t my life’s goal. It is only a tool used to afford me the opportunity to live a happy and abundant life. I have no desire to dedicate my life to work to one day be CEO or President of the company. I want to punch out at the end of the day to those things that bring me great joy.
My children’s births were the most magical moments of my life. I was fortunate to have a company that saw value in this balance, and took the opportunity to take extended time off to be with my wife and new babies. Two weeks for Birdsnest, and four weeks for Loudboy (using some unpaid time and invoking the family medical leave act [FMLA] clause). Priorities for me have always been straight. I hope yours are too. I’ve heard stories of famously rich and powerful men who stated their largest regret was working too much to get ahead and missing key aspects of their kids’ lives or connection opportunities with their spouse. Balancing work and life can be difficult, but don’t get caught in the trap of working for “more” when more can be found for free at home.
Spend time teaching your kid to throw a ball or shoot a jump shot or garden. Play legos and board games and bike to the park together. Teach them kickball or play Ghost in the Graveyard on a summer’s evening. Don’t waste these opportunities, since they’re gone in an instant… that’s the reason we leave for that job in the first place. Don’t ever forget that.
Happy Easter weekend, enjoy and be grateful for the times with your families.