Balance Is Bullshit
Work-life balance is an unreachable fallacy and I am sick of pretending otherwise.
- If you’re pleased with how you’re feeling physically – you’ve been eating well, sleeping plenty, and exercising – you might feel like you could more on top of things at work.
- If you’ve been out partying it up, you probably feel like crap physically.
- If you’re killing it at work, you maybe haven’t connected with the people you love as much as you wish you had.
- If you’ve been worrying about other people, your own mental house is more than likely in a bit of a shambles.
Can we please stop talking about “balance” as if it’s a sustainable state? It is not. We clap when vaudeville acts balance bowling pins or dinner plates. We get excited when we balance an egg on the pointy end. We wobble when we stand on one foot. FOR SECONDS. The whole point of balance is that it’s transitory, momentary, fleeting. Balance is not a goal.
Here’s a metaphor for you. Back in the 80s and 90s when we all had big double-tape-deck CD player stereo boomboxes, they had equalizers on the front. I didn’t really know what those sliders did (possibly, in hindsight, nothing), but I would always keep varying them because it looked clever and interesting.
So here’s the metaphor. Life has levels, and we’re not sound engineers. You won’t get your output perfect. Nor can you max one thing out and not expect to blow. Maybe you stay exactly even, nice and neat and low. Or maybe your levels are up and down, like mine. Regardless, I think it’s important to play around with them – with our priorities. Maybe you have too many. Maybe you don’t have enough. Maybe one’s up too high. But they’re worth looking at. Because – unlike the levels on my boom box – I think these ones really do matter.