Working is a necessary evil. Our lives are driven by getting up early in the morning just to get ready to go into work. Often times we come home after it’s already dark. Our days are sucked away making a living. There is a good chance that even while we are not at work, we think about work. And even if we aren’t thinking about work, we may worry about our financial situation, that then creates the vicious cycle of needing to work.
Some job circumstances may cause more stress than others. Some people have commutes to work that are over an hour long each way. Some couples work opposite shifts to share childcare responsibilities, some work until the job is done which can mean a 50-60 hour work week. Many people’s jobs put them on opposite schedules of their children, their friends, and their family or leaves them too worn out to do anything else. With all of these obstacles, it’s easy to forget that we are making a living so that we can enjoy life.
A lot of it comes down to choices and awareness. It has become common for my generation to live beyond their means, buying the homes and cars at 30 that our parents couldn’t afford until they were 50, which leads to a lot of financial stress. Some people are incredibly driven and love to work overtime. Some are trying so hard to make ends meet that they are working more than one job. But often the benefits don’t outweigh the costs. Are we making time for anything else? When we get married, we make a commitment to each other. When we choose to bring children into this world, we make a commitment to them. When we choose our career, it is only fair to consider the ones we love as a factor.
What is the point of working so hard if you aren’t enjoying the life you’ve built around you? It is just a job (unless you are finding the cure for cancer, then please, carry on). It is just a means to an end. The world will not stop spinning if you take a break. By making time to enjoy life your relationships with your family will be stronger and the memories you make will last longer than any amount of money that you have earned.
Take a break! It is noble and responsible to save for kid’s college and retirement. It is responsible to show up for work each day and be a dependable employee. But it is equally responsible to acknowledge that nobody knows what the future holds. Your kids can always get a student loan for their education. You might be gone before you can enjoy your retirement account. You can make your house a home without expensive remodels or the “right” zip code.
Parents, your children are growing- like weeds- and will be out on their own before you can believe it. Married folk- if you’re lucky enough to still have each other when they go, will you still even know or like each other? Well what if you’re single with no kids or spouse to worry about? You still can’t take your money with you when you die. GO ENJOY LIFE.
Carve out time for yourself. Spend it with the people in your life that really matter. And don’t make it fit in around your work schedule. Use that vacation time or budget for a week off to really soak in the things that matter most. Then, when you are back at the daily grind of work responsibilities and you are presented with opportunities to choose work or life, take a long minute to pause and really consider your choice.
I promise you, I truly doubt that on your deathbed you will say, I wish I had worked more.