Saturday, January 06, 2007

Work/life balance in the new year: putting your thumb on the life side of the scales

Finding work/life balanceTremendous lip service is paid to the importance of achieving life/work balance. Plenty of ink both real and virtual gets spilled for this topic. (Go ahead and Google the phrase "work/life balance" to see what I mean.)

Yet despite our best intentions, it's easy to make excuses for the late nights and endless hours. We push ourselves to work harder and longer. We tell ourselves that next time we'll make it up to our spouses, our kids, our family, our friends. Yet too often there's never time for "next time".

And then something happens. Which is what happened for me. Note that I did not say "happened to me". The stuff that happened, happened to others.

But it got my attention.

During December bad news came about two people I love a lot. My brother seriously injured his back, so severely that paralysis remains a real fear. We are all on hold, no one more than he is, as he waits for test results, for doctors to issue their prognoses, for therapies to work. Meanwhile a beloved friend was diagnosed with a terrifying kind of cancer--the kind that demands radical surgery and aggressive treatment and that most of us pray we'll never have to face. Her plans for a new career, reinventing herself in her early 60’s, have been suspended for the time being. But, as one of her other friends observed, "Cancer picked the wrong woman to mess with this time", a truth that gives us all hope.

So, as the new year begins, I hope you'll take time to remember how important are the people we share our lives with. Don't wait for something to happen to them or to you.

Resolve to make time for the people you love. And don't just resolve to do it, do it. Now.

Resolve not to fight less but to fight better and fairer.

And resolve to tell people you love that you love them. You can't say that stuff enough.