Work – Life, Balance

Work – Life, Balance

This statement is a bit of an oxymoron; and that is almost one in itself!

“What’s an oxymoron?” many ask, thinking they know what it means, but are not actually sure.  Apparently, the correct definition is ‘a figure of speech by which a phrase produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect’, with cruel kindness or to make haste slowly as some examples.

And there is no ‘bit’ of an oxymoron – it either is or it isn’t.  So, I’m left wondering if a person can be one too?  From my research, however, I now believe he or she would just be known as ‘a moron’, even though I’ve just coined the phrase, a bright kind of stupid, and know of several people who would fit into that category.  And to be perfectly honest, at times, I would have to own up to that as well.

This is really just a rather long-winded introduction to this blog!  ‘Work’ and ‘Life’ do not, in any way, shape or form, equal ‘Balance’, no matter how one like to pretend they have mastered it.  At times during our lives the scales are tipped very much on one side, and we know that, for most of us, the forty-five plus years from when we start working, until we retire, there is little ‘Life’ in the ‘Balance’.

For many people now it begins when they have a part-time job during the latter years of secondary schooling.  They are studying to get good grades to earn a place in either a university or a technical college.  Or just hoping to get employment.  I was fortunate that when I went through Uni, when the dinosaurs roamed the world, our tertiary education was free (as I think it still should be), so did not have to rack up the exorbitant HECS debts students now are required to do.  It’s almost a ‘hex’, as it must be considered a curse to higher learning.  Is there another oxymoron lurking in the shadows somewhere?

You become older very, very quickly.  You don’t see it when you are a child, of course; you long to be grown up and treated like an adult.  Oh, how foolish we all are, dreaming of that time we see as Utopia.  However, we soon wake up to the real meaning of ADULT:  Avoidance, Delivery, Under the pump, Lifeless, and Tired.  Well, that’s how I saw many of those years as I managed to pull my sorry arse through my time as a wife, mother, business owner, divorcee and teacher.  I won’t say I didn’t have a life; it was just that my ‘me time’ was between the hours of midnight and 6am when one should have been sleeping.   Instead I’m sure I was still unconsciously planning, preparing and providing for my family and me.  There was paid work, and then there was the unpaid work.  Don’t get me wrong … I love my family, and would do everything again, a thousand times over, however you eat, breathe and sleep for many years just to live, and that allows little time for real Life in that equation.  Balance is something you do trying to get both you and the kids ready in the morning, out the door on time, and with everything required for the next ten hours.  Balance is loading the washing machine as you take out yesterday’s dried clothes from the dryer, slightly more creased than they would have been had you had five minutes to fold them when they were still warm.  Balance is trying to provide healthy meals three times a day, knowing it would be more time efficient to have take-aways instead of the hours slicing, dicing and whatever else you do to make a meal from scratch.  And I’m not a person who loves, or even likes, to cook, so I really don’t know what to do, nor am I going to learn at this late stage in my life!  Balance is making sure you go to work with matching shoes and the buttons on your shirt done up in the correct holes.  Balance is getting children to their individual sports, all starting at the same time but being played on pitches, courts and fields at different ends of the metropolitan area.  Balance means earning enough money to pay for the necessities in life.  I don’t know what balance is, just what it isn’t.  Balance does NOT mean relatively equal times of work and leisure, no matter how much we pray for it to be.

And I’m still doing the juggling act.  I’m a grandmother now, and there are three little others in my life, plus my partner-in-crime, who need and want my attention.  Plus I’m working, at least three days a week.  Fortunately, I don’t have the full load of a contracted teacher, so have kissed IEPs, reports and staff meetings goodbye, however I do still need to do some preparation before I enter a classroom.

I am hoping, with fingers, toes and everything else I can cross at this time, in the very near future it will be less of teaching and more of writing and patchwork, along with a health dose of travelling, in my autumnal years.  That’s what I’m planning on, if only my Superannuation and my future expenditure, remembering I do not know how many more years I have left to live, will find a balance!

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