Previously I posted about the importance of balance when it comes to life and finances. (See “All About Balance“) Although it is great to be able to pay off debt and watch the bills go down and the savings go up, being reminded of what I am working for also helps tremendously. I’ll admit sometimes I lose track of the important things. I think at some point we all do. We get stuck in a rut. We fight through traffic to get to work, put in hours that would be better spent doing something else, fight through traffic again to come home and then have a little down time so that we can be ready to do it again the next day.
There are so many people who do this each and every day looking for the day that they will be able to retire so that they can start “enjoying life”. Recently I have been thinking about this. I have been thinking about my current position as a tech support rep. For a long time, being the techie guy and working with technical issues had been my passion. Now that I have been in this role for a number of years, I realize that it is not at all what I want. I realize that the scale it tipping in the wrong direction.
The good thing is that I see this now. I can slowly start to re-balance the scale. How in the world am I going to do this? I think I already have. By simply starting this blog and choosing to write about something I am passionate about, I have created a new road with new opportunity. It’s all about balance right? Not just work time vs family time, job vs passion, the have –tos vs the want-tos, but everything.
This theme of being stuck in a rut seems to be so common these days that it has become a cliché. So why do we do it? Why do we choose this way of life? For many of us it’s because we are comfortable. We may not enjoy the careers we have or the lifestyle we live, but it is comfortable. We settle for this because although it is not what we want, the alternative (making a change) is too scary. Although this is a fear that can build up in us over time, causing us to hold back, it does not need to be this way.
I was stuck in a rut myself for the longest time. The worst thing about this is that many times we don’t even realize that we are stuck. In these times it usually takes something external to cause us to get a true vision of where we are.
Although my “position” at work has technically changed, I have been doing the same basic type of work since starting at the company nearly 7 years ago. There have been good times and bad, of course, but I have never felt fulfilled in the work I do. I think that the majority of us can say the same thing, but why?
When we get to this point and we feel like we are just going through the motions, it is time to re-balance. For me, it took years to figure this out. Year after year I was going to work, doing the same thing and waiting for the day that something would change. It became so tiring. Albert Einstein is accredited to once saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I do suppose, I was hitting the point of insanity.
In order to fix my situation, I have to re-balance my mind and my life. I think about what I want in life and what goals I want to achieve. I had to think about what I am fighting for and small reminders can help tremendously with this. Keeping photos on my desk at work reminds me of family and why I am putting in long hours. Listening to podcasts on my commute helps me to think more about personal development and growth. Writing posts early in the morning or sometimes late at night helps me to fuel the creative side of my mind. All of these things help me to re-balance, to even out the scale and allow me to grow.
In our world today it seems like there is this idea that we need to work and work and work. “Retirement” is such a long way off and with the costs of everything, we should be considered lucky if we are able to retire. There is an illusion that once we retire we will be able to do everything we want and that is really when we start to “live life”. But why do we need to wait for this? Why can’t we “live life” now?
I am not saying to cash out your retirement, quit your job and buy a boat without planning anything else. What I am saying is that while we are working, saving and investing, why can’t we also balance ourselves with the things we enjoy? If you are someone who really enjoys your job and what you do each day, that is awesome! Use that as momentum to continue to become a better you. On the other hand, if you are a person who dreads going to work and retirement is only a fantasy, why are you living like this? Where is the balance? Find something that you enjoy doing and make it a bigger part of your life.
There are days that my job drives me completely insane. Demanding customers can make me feel drained at the end of the day. This needs to be balanced out. I don’t want to wait to do so, I need my sanity. So what do I do? I place things on the other side of the scale, simple things; playing with my kids, spending time with my wife, reading great books, writing posts. It is not about work, work, work and then retire to enjoy life. It is about finding the right balance now.
If you are stuck in a job you don’t like, what are you currently working on to get out of it? If you are in a financial situation that drives you crazy, what are you working on to re-balance the scale?
Sometimes all we need to do is look at things with a different perspective. Do you feel like you do not have time to re-balance and work on something you enjoy? Each of us are all given 24 hours each and every day, just like your money, hours need to be budgeted as well. Make time for yourself.
Although my position in my professional life is not where I ultimately want to be, I look at it from another perspective. My job is funding my life while I spend the time to figure out what I want and where I want to be. My day job of working tech support has very little to do with my goals and aspirations to work in the finance industry or to become a better writer. However this job provides me with a salary to pay for my bills and things I need to pursue my personal goals. It is all about the perspective.
If you feel like you are unbalanced, I urge you to look at your situation and discover what you need to even out the scale. You do not always need to stop one thing to start another. What are you passionate about? What little things can you do to help you to get to where you want to be? How can you balance out the scale?
I would love to hear from you in the comments below. You can also reach me directly through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on my Facebook page or on Twitter @defeatingnormal. Also, if you enjoyed this post or any of the other posts here, please share this in order to help this blog grow. Thanks for reading and keep up the work to defeat normal.