Balance is crucial along the winding trail that is life. Leaning too far one way or the other could result in a trip, stumble, or fall. Although neccesary, balance is not a God given skill. It takes time, patience, and practice to perfect the balance of responsibilities, commitment, and time management. Understanding the value of balance comes by looking at life through the eyes of those who rely on you.
I think that anyone with a full time job or career struggles with work/family balance at times. My career requires my time and attention from 7:30 to 5 every Monday through Friday. In the spring, days can get longer but the majority of them are as stated above. What my job does not require is that I struggle to keep conversation with my wife at night because I am perplexed by an issue risen earlier in the day. For me, keeping my mind to the task at hand has always been a challenge and in this instance, it is not that work keeps me from family, but that I can’t keep from work. I understand that I need to focus on family while at home, but my coworkers and customers are relying on me and I can’t let them down.
My parents still milk cows and grow crops on the farm where I grew up about 10 minutes from my current home. There is plenty of work to do on the farm and at times, it can be more than my mother and father can comfortably handle on their own. I am always willing to offer a helping hand when needed and have spent countless hours cutting wood, working land, unloading forage boxes, feeding cows, and performing countless other neccesary farm tasks. I don’t get paid to work their, per say, but I do enjoy a multitude of other benefits. Homemade raspberry jam, repurposed building materials, and the use of a truck and trailer, if needed, are all wonderful perks of helping out on the farm. Although I truly enjoy working on the farm, there are times when I get the call for help and I need to decline because I’m needed at home. I understand that I need to help make things easier for them, but my wife and baby are relying on me and I can’t let them down.
I have always been a bit of a dreamer and my mind always bounces from one million dollar idea to the next. One day I want to plant my yard to Christmas trees and the next I want to industrialize the chicken coop market. I have started so many projects and left them at 10% complete that my idea notebook looks like a graveyard. The only thing that has been a constant over all of these years is that I need to farm. I understand that if I spend a bit more energy on the next idea, I can make it, but everyone is relying on me and I can’t let them down.
It is normal to struggle with balance in life, and everybody has different battles that they need to fight every day. For some, it is turning off the TV and reading to your child. For others, it is closing the laptop and leaving work so they can eat a meal with their wife and kids. For me, it is the constant fight between my thoughts and my actions. Remember that to continue moving forward, one must consider not just the direction they are moving forward, but also the direction of all travellers on the path.