Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Saturated

sat·u·rat·ed (adjective): 1. Unable to hold or contain more; full. 2. The condition of an employee having more tasks than is possible to be manage by a single individual.

This is how I feel. I function in three different roles at work, all of which I had in pretty good balance until just recently. Suddenly, one of my roles, which has traditionally been the least time-consuming, is now taking nearly all of my time. This is a difficult position to be in as it is impractical for me to simply drop all the other things for which I'm responsible. Happily, I've got a good team that works for and with me that I can lean on. In addition, I have recently trained somebody to do some of the work that I do, which has helped me to manage this change in balance fairly well.

Today, I wanted to discuss the nature of one being asked to do too much, and focus on the art of balancing one's life.

As it may often be, our lives are filled with conflicting challenges and responsibilities. We are often required to balance our work, society, and home in a reasonable fashion so that one may provide for oneself, enjoy one's life, and be with one's family. One could also throw into the mix the demands of a church or the distractions of hobbies, which can easily throw things out of balance.

I often observe that those who are unhappy with any one of these five things tend to over-emphasize one of them at the expense of the others. For example, I have a friend who absolutely hates his job, so he spends an extraordinary amount of time and money on his hobby, which prevents him from spending what I consider to be the appropriate amount of time with his family. In his particular case, his job pays very well (hence the reason he won't change jobs to one that is more appealing to him), so he is able to provide a comfortable living for his family. But at what cost? At what point does a hobby become more than a simple amusement and instead a major stumbling block to familial happiness?

I have another friend who spends nearly all of his waking hours at work, thus missing out on the growth of his children. So, I ask, is the cash really worth it? For those who are truly needy, the answer may be a resounding "yes". But in this particular case, his job pays well, and would pay sufficiently well were he to work "regular" hours.

All this brought to mind the fact that I'm not really sure how I spend my time. I feel like my life is really quite balanced, but it has mostly been at the expense of any hobby whatsoever. And sleep. I'm learning to live with less sleep. A lot less sleep. But as a young father, I can only do so much in the time I have available. This is particularly challenging when it comes to trying to find time for my children. As I've mentioned before, I have three of them, each under the age of 8. They demand attention, and when they don't demand attention, I feel like I'm missing out on something. While keeping a house and all that goes with it, it is very difficult to have to tell the children that I don't have time to play with them. My daughter loves to pretend, and when she asks me to play pirates (okay, it's more likely to be princesses), it is hard to say no, but sometimes I must. Do I do so too much? I don't really know.

What I do know is that even with the difficulties of trying to balance my life, one thing will never change: that I love my family. I will always love them and I am doing my best to make sure I take care of them in every way I can (which much of the time means being away from them to earn a living). I do my best every day to not miss out on what they're doing. So, look forward to me starting to record some of the wacky things that they do, the funny things, the frustrating things, and the things that make me absolutely crazy with aggravation, and most especially the things that make me proud to be a father. Good days are ahead, no doubt.

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