Mar 072006

Yesterday I spend an hour reading blogs following a post on work-life balance on BlogHer. I started to write a comment myself, but didn’t post it, because it involved the story of my life during the past twenty years (maybe a little too much for a comment on a post). And I won’t be posting it here right now, but what caught my attention first was the word “work-life balance”. I just love it.

It implies that work is somehow not a part of life. That’s real cute. And that’s part of feeling stressed, too. Because while you’re spending hours and hours at work, you feel like you’re not living. But you are! Right this moment. It might not be the life you’d like to have, but it’s all you’ve got.

You’re even living while doing housework – even while cleaning the toilet. My happiest moment yesterday, for example, was hanging up laundry with my son. We had a lot of fun, and it was a very satisfying task.

In my life the boundaries between work and the rest of my life are not that clear anyway. Of course, teaching is work, because I’m getting paid for it. Transcribing songs or learning new ones is part of work even though I don’t get paid for it. Practicing is work (no pay), songwriting is work (no pay). Housework is – not quite work. If I were not a musician by profession, playing the piano and singing would be leisure.

I had an epiphany some weeks ago, when I was quite depressed because of money issues, and a little fed up with teaching. I thought about the way my life would change if I had enough money to do whatever I wanted.

Because that’s the point of the term “work life balance” that “work” is something you only do to earn the money you need for living. (And living is something you do on weekends and vacation.)

My first thoughts were of the things, money can fix: paying off the mortgage, buy a new kitchen, buy a grand piano … But then I found that even ‘though I’d possibly not teach every student, I’m teaching now, I’d rather not quit teaching. I like it. If I had all the money in the world, my life wouldn’t change in a big way. I think.

Imagine thinking about your life and finding out that you’re almost exactly, where you want to be…

I was a little shocked, but really happy.

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