For years I worked without taking a vacation or sick day. I wanted to take a vacation, God knows I needed one, but not only could I not afford it, there wasn’t a cover for me at work. I came to work sick, because I had to. For over a decade, I worked ten plus hour days, five days a week, never being late coming in or complaining. During this time, I also completed my four year degree (more like six), receiving my BA from the University of Washington. It was hard, I had little time for myself, let a alone a social life. Looking back at a my journal, what I was most excited for, after graduating, was having time to exercise and cook dinners in my kitchen. I was living in a basement apartment, making not enough money it felt like to save and life was much harder. But, I had goals and I kept working towards them. I wanted to be able to have more free time. I wanted to make more money. I wanted to be able to travel. Each year that I worked, I gained more experience, taking on more specific tasks and moved up from a receptionist to an office manager. Now, I don’t have to worry about paying bills as much, in fact I can now really start to attack those student loans and work towards becoming debt free. I take time off when I need it and go on vacations (I just went to New Zealand last month for two weeks and it was wonderful!). It wasn’t an easy road getting here and may have taken longer than most people in their careers, but I didn’t mind the hard work. The timing was right for me and I learned a lot along the way. During the process, I was able to grow as a person and I am stronger for it.
Now I am in a position in my life where I am appreciating the balancing act of what is important. Work is important and my role plays a huge part in the growth of the company I am in. But, in order to do my best, I need to balance work with exercise, relaxation, fun, learning, hobbies, friends and family. These things are just as important. Whenever I see someone, or myself, working too much and not nourishing the other aspects of life, I see fatigue, moodiness, resentment and lack of creativity. Balancing physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual parts of life, brings out the best that I can be. When one gets too much focus, the others lack and I am the only one that suffers. There are certain times in life, when one area may need a little more attention, such as wanting to accomplish a short term goal, but I try to keep that short term. Being at a point in my life, where I can have balance, is a goal accomplished within itself and I am thankful for it!