Sunday, August 26, 2012

Live to Work or Work to Live?


It is the time of year when the familiar chug of yellow buses rumbles down the streets of our neighborhoods again.  It is the time when school zone hours can earn you speeding tickets again (and make sure you aren’t on your cell phone!).  It is the time when young people grow nervous and their parents excited.  It is time for school to begin.

Also, at least from my perspective, it is time for my blog to resume.  Ironically enough, my last blog post, from July 1, was titled The Balancing Act.  Since then, I have found anything but balance.  After nearly two months of being away (while not actually being away), it is time to return.

Staring at this all day long.  I am surprised I am not crazy.
Or maybe I am?
In The Balancing Act, I rhapsodized over the goal of finding work-life balance, and for much of July I convinced myself I was doing that.  I taught my lessons three and a half days during the week and had the rest of the week for myself.  Or so I thought.  Somewhere along the line I allowed myself to believe that working my marching band design business during my free hours was “my time.”  Don’t ask me how, but it never crossed my mind that drill writing and music arranging was not relaxation.

Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but I displayed some amazing naivet√© by not connecting the dots.  By the end of July, my days had become everything I had attempted to avoid by no longer band directing.  To further the irony, I had thrown myself to the mercy of my work a full month earlier than my high school band director friends.  I woke and wrote drill.  I went and taught lessons.  I wrote drill during breaks.  When I was done, I wrote drill, many times until well past midnight.  I wrote drill sitting next to Samantha on the couch, just so we would have some together time.  

Balance?  No sir.

So, as I sit here, not writing drill, but instead writing words - the entire reason behind my career change - I want to take this opportunity to remind you to find your balance.  For many of us, the aphorism “Work to live, don’t live to work,” doesn’t apply, but it should and we have the power to make the change.

For those returning to the grindstone, and to those who never left, keep in mind that the Earth rotates and the sun will rise tomorrow - your work will still be there to finish.  If it is quitting time, let it be quitting time.  Plan smartly and roll with the punches if things don’t go according to plan.  Remember the why of what you do.  Your business gives you personal days for a reason.  Don’t be afraid to use them.

I am taking some personal days starting tomorrow and have so far done a good job not feeling guilty about it.  I am making sure my ducks are in a row before I leave and I know I will have work to do when I get back, but as soon as I step on that boat, I plan on realigning myself.  My efforts will once again be centered on working to live instead of the other way around.  Take a look at your own life and let me know what you see.


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