A lot of ink has been spilled on the topic of “work-life balance”. To the average American corporation, work-life balance should look like this:
[One former employer of mine, which will remain nameless but whose initials are I.B.M., eschewed WLB in favor of what it called “work-life integration”. Forget weekends, holidays, working hours, and all other such quaint concepts. Employees are on call 24X7, literally. But that’s another post.]
Would that one’s existence could be so easily bifurcated. There’s work – the stuff you do to make the rest of your life possible – and life – a simple, monolithic entity that can be held in one hand.
No, life is a bit more complicated. Life, it turns out, is made up of a lot of little pieces, much like seemingly solid matter is made up of miniscule sub-atomic particles. In fact, electrons capture the feel of many of our lives, spinning around us at a furious, dizzying rate.
Usually, I feel like this guy:
The point is, though, that there are a lot of demands on our time. My list includes welcome things like my Jesus, family, friends, biking, reading, and writing as well as some intruders such as housework, MS, and credit card applications in the mail. All this stuff takes time and lots of it. (My blog bio describes my list in greater detail.)
What amazes me is that some people can dedicate their lives to doing one thing incredibly well, while the rest of their lives somehow maintain an equilibrium that is hard to come by in the best of cases.
My dilemma is that I want to write. The conventional wisdom is that a writer has to write every day. To excel, one has to write a lot, as well as read and study the craft. How can I do that when my number one priority is (and must be) my relationship with my Creator? Then there’s the family, house, and keeping my health intact.
My icon in this area is a guy named Phil Keaggy.
Not only does he appear on the surface (though I admit appearances can be deceiving) to be a solid man of God and a quality husband and father, he’s one of the finest guitarists alive. Obviously, to get to the level of virtuosic proficiency that he’s at took (and continues to take) countless hours of practice. Dedication to the craft. That’s a whole lot easier if you don’t give a fig for your God or your family. How do you do them all well?
The same can be said (but rarely to the level Phil has achieved) of great writers, athletes, statesmen, and more. I’m not interested so much in balancing these things, but dedicating my life to being the absolute best I can be at all of them. Am I dreaming? Is there really sufficient time to dedicate to writing without neglecting the rest.
One thing I could do is cut this post short.