I like hard work. I like a job well done. I like achieving my goals. I love kicking ass and taking names. But you know what? I also love being able to read the same book 10 times in a row to my kid (okay, maybe I don’t love the same book part). I love sitting on the beach and sipping fruity cocktails. I love going to the farmer’s market. I love cruising the dollar bins at Target. I love sipping on cold brew at a coffee shop. I love sleeping in. I love making pancakes on a Tuesday morning. I am a proud un-workaholic.
It hasn’t always been this way. No way. During my last semester of college, I literally had five jobs at the same time (I worked at a candy store, a children’s museum, the university’s marketing department, as a computer lab supervisor, and as a marketing intern for the anthropology department). All while doing my thesis. And you know what that got me? An awesome resume and a trip to the emergency room for exhaustion.
I’d like to say that the transition to a balanced life was a swift one, but it took me years, a patient husband, a move to the middle-of-nowhere, and a crazy awesome kid to finally figure it all out. One of the concepts I try to remember everyday is that everyone you meet you has something to teach you—even if it’s something as simple as learning what you don’t want to be.
And throughout my professional career, I met a number of people who had the exact life I didn’t want. They worked late into the night. They came in on the weekends. Work was their life. They checked their email while at the dinner table. And it became real obvious to me real quick that that wasn’t the life I wanted for myself or my family. It didn’t mean what they were doing was wrong—it may have been perfect for them—it just wasn’t what I wanted. Like Amy Poehler says, “Good for you, not for me.”
Even though I had (have) workaholic tendencies, I realized that the workaholic life wasn’t what I wanted. So I changed it.
I quit my job. I started my own business so I could be at home. I created margins in my life. Now, I don’t work weekends (ever). I usually only work 5-6 hours per day. It takes me two to three (or four) days to answer an email. I make dinner for my family every night (even if it’s frozen pizza). I read my kid the same book ten times when she asks. I have an office space that gets closed off during non-work hours. And I take an entire month off from work in the summer.
I have to tell you, as a red-blooded, middle-class American, my first instinct is to apologize for how fortunate I am to be in a position where I’m able to live this life. I know the freedom to set my own schedule and be home to cook supper and read my kid a book and take a month off is a luxury that not many folks have. Would I be able to get further in my career if I worked a Saturday every now and again? Maybe. But that’s not what’s important to me. That’s not my priority. That’s not what’s good for me.
So I’m not going to apologize. Because, honestly, I’m not sorry. Do I wish everyone could have this charmed life? Absolutely. Am I sorry that I have it? Nope. Not even a little. I’m proud of my balance.