My job the summer going into my sophomore year was working at dorm. I had the glamorous title of a “conference assistant” along with the 10 or so other students who decided to stick around that summer. It’s the only job I’ve ever had that never involved WordPress so that might explain why I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other jobs I’ve had 🙂
As part of the job, we each were assigned shifts from 12AM to 8AM periodically throughout the summer. During one of these night shifts, I started talking to a basketball coach who was helping run a camp at UNC that summer. The kids attending the camp were staying in the dorm I was working at. He left me with these wise words: “Forget happiness, seek balance. Balance is more important than happiness.”
I don’t think I ever truly understood him. In all honesty, I must not have based on the way I spent my time in college. I constantly worked – whether it was school work or real work for my job or working on becoming a better rugby player. I worked until my body gave out and I got mono for the second time in the fall my senior year. With rugby off the table by that point, I dove into work. Fast forward a year and a half and here I sit: sick, tired, and unbalanced.
I paused today and imagined what “balance” looked like for me. Here’s what I envisioned:
7AM: wake up & cook breakfast
8AM: head to the gym or go for a run
10AM: coffee + start work
1PM: lunch + read for an hour
2PM – 6:30PM: work
7PM: make dinner
I hit 8PM and I just go… blank. What am I supposed to do? Realistically, netflix or talk with my girlfriend or, well, do more work. What is balance? Ideally, I would love to spend time with my friends once the workday ends. I’d love to meet up, cook dinner together, and just BE. Go to the park or coffee shop and talk for hours. I’ve tasted that reality. I had that in highschool and in college. In the world I’m living in now, it is feeling more like fantasy than reality. I do know I want to disconnect – I very much do – but when the day ends and there’s nothing to do it becomes easy to open up my computer. I need to challenge myself to go to meetups, to go for a long walk, to capture the sunsetting, to learn how to use my dad’s old camera, to write a blog post (!!!), to write postcards, to start having pen pals again, to re-learn latin, who knows. I get frustrated with myself when I realize that rather than being balanced I am just pouring myself into work. The upside is that I really do love the work I’m doing and I feel like I’m challenging myself to take on things that feel bigger than me. That’s a really great feeling. The downside is that I can feel the heart of who I am slipping away. The person who loves to lifechat with random people and close friends alike. The person who loves adventure. The person who closes the computer screen to pick up a soccer ball. Here’s to finding that balance.