I was going to call this post “Work/life/work balance” but then I saw the current title on a T-shirt worn by a customer at work. Much better, if more long-winded.
A long time ago, so long it was still probably before the Multiple-Weasel era, Mrs Dim and I were busy with stuff. There was work, and there were social events, and there were outside work hours commitments that we both had. So much so, that we rarely had time together of an evening. So we came up with Chinese Night. Every Friday, no matter what, we would get take-out, a decent movie and have an evening together. Six months later, we realised that however much we enjoyed the Chinese, we felt terrible the next day, and introduced Steak Night instead.
Steak Night has stood the test of time, and even made the transition to Canada. It’s actually survived longer than the demands on our time that made it so important. Even after four nights of slumping on the sofa, glassy-eyed in front of cable tv, we still got excited about Steak Night and debated hotly about what kind of movie to get.
And this is what I think of when people talk about work/life balance – I think about Steak Night. That was us, balancing our life against work with one precious night a week. It worked, more or less, getting us through the mad early days when Mrs Dim’s Career in the military was on the ascendent, and we had fencing classes, Theatre Club, Saddle Club, Families Club and so many other things to keep up with.
But now it’s my own work/life/work balance I’m struggling with. I don’t work a lot of hours at the World’s Largest Home Improvement Retailer, but I notice that when I’m not doing that, there’s a lot of other stuff to do. We’re renovating, so there’s the staircase to build, the flooring to arrange, the law suit to persue. There’s the regular raft of domestic duties to keep up with, sometimes complicated by the renovation (this week we’ve moved the washing machine down to the basement, which meant a mountain of washing appeared during the time it took to unplumb and re-plumb. Along with a huge bill from the plumbers. Like all renovators, we have more bills than a flock of geese right now, but it’s all in the plan. Or a plan.) That all comes under the heading of work, since I don’t intend for life to consist of washing socks, so Mrs Dim and I try to fit in time for walks, for trips out as a family (even for simple things, like walking Moose down the local trails.) We managed to give Mrs Dim a reasonable Birthday to compensate for the Mother’s Day Disaster (of which we do not speak..) so we are managing a reasonable work/life balance.
But like I said, it’s the work/life/work balance that’s been bothering me the past few days. I’m still a playwright, still a reviewer of plays, still the author of an e-book that is taking shape sooooo slowly but will be very, very good and just what you need if you’re considering writing a play for the Community Theatre Group near you. I know I am all these things, but to believe it, I have to DO some of those things. I’m not going to totally blame the outside influences of the real world – I know there are occasions when I’m in front of the computer and I fail to use them efficiently (for example, I’m blogging right now when I *could* be writing or reviewing. Reviewing is on today’s “to do” list. Blogging isn’t.) but I can’t help thinking longingly of those halcyon days only a few months ago when I would return from walking the Weasels to school and pile into some play reviewing before ticking some things off the domestic list and knowing all the time that tomorrow would be more of the same, not taken up with Greeting Duties.
This is, of course, another ungrateful whinge. The regular job is not demanding or difficult. I get time to think, I get to talk to all kinds of people and I have new circle of friends. It allows me to keep collecting the weasels from school, and seems flexible enough to cope with the Summer Holidays and the occasional half-day holiday that the school springs on us. And let’s not forget, the wages allow other exciting things, like paying for the mortgage or weekly groceries. I need to remember that when I had all that luxurious time on my hands, I wasn’t much more productive than am now, I just filled more time with Facebook and games. So, in amongst the phone calls, washing, reviewing and carpentry today, I shall be looking for balance.