The Balancing Act Continues

As I was standing in line this morning, a Friday morning, at Walmart (don’t judge me), I thought about how odd it was to be shopping on “work time.” And, further, I thought about the list of categories we have on this blog, one of which is “WorkLife.” We previously wrote about work life balance about two years ago ( and we’ve written many posts about how Melissa and I juggle co-owning a business with very demanding work. When I think about how we juggle, I realize, we just do. We have to. We have to plan ahead, thinking what the next week or two or month has in store. We like to be busy with work – that is how we make a living. But, our work is all consuming at times. In the coming week we will be gone for 3 days on a research trip. And, on return, we’ll be exhausted because of the 15 hour research day and 8 to 10 hours of driving. The following week we are off to New Orleans where Melissa is speaking to a prestigious group of lawyers at the Defense Research Institute (DRI). Again, we’ll be gone for 3+ days. With the demands of our work, which consumes both of us, getting mundane things done, like buying cat food (and people food too), has to be worked in somewhere. Even using time saving services like pre-ordering online, getting “it” all done is challenging. Thus, I’m in line on a Friday morning, despite there being work to do in the office, because it is the most efficient use of my time. Shopping at Walmart over the weekend is a horrible use of time. Early morning shopping is much more pleasant and checking out takes a fraction of the time it does on a weekend. I suppose the bottom line to balancing work and life in this respect is you do what you have to do to get things done. If it means shopping on Friday and working on the weekend, then that’s how it will be. Fortunately, technology allows the freedom to be out of the office, but still be connected. In that respect, balancing work and life is easier than it would have been even a few year ago. I’ve gotten over feeling guilty for not being at work in situations like this, but for those of us with a strong, independent, work ethic, that is a challenge in itself.

As I mentioned in one of David’s and my recent posts, we recently had lunch with 2 of my childhood friends, a married couple, who are retired.  Their enthusiastic advocation of retirement included the statement, “Melissa, when you retire, you can do whatever you want”! I replied, “That’s not a motivation for me.  I already do exactly what I want, exactly when I want to do it.”  Being self employed has its ups and downs, for example, I have not received a paycheck since 1993, I will have no pension when I do retire, and cash flow can sometimes be challenging.  However, having worked for other people from 1973 to 1993, I will gladly take self employment over being someone’s employee.  Today, a Friday, while David went to Walmart, I stayed home and did lots of chores so that I won’t have to waste a perfectly good Saturday doing them.  Soon, I will take our darling cat to the vet, at a time I requested several days ago that allows me to avoid traffic and have the remainder of the afternoon to do whatever I want to do.  I work as hard and as long as I need to do in order to meet deadlines on Magnus’ clients’ cases.  I have never missed a deadline or made my work a lower priority than personal time.  As usual, I move through most tasks at a speed most people I know cannot match, allowing me more time to be with my cat, play my bass guitars, read a book, hang out with friends, or just relax.  If work and life require a balancing act, then I am a pretty good juggler, if I do say so myself. 

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