One of my Twitter followers’ bios says “I wish to know everybody.” Now there’s a goal. In all seriousness, sometimes I think I need to set more challenging goals for myself. Work-life balance used to be tough when I had a definitive, lengthy period of time that I was doing work and getting to and from work. Now that I am free to make my own schedule in my new fence-less world, I find myself in the rare situation of having lots of time between my large projects. In other words, life has tipped the scale in a huge way, and I have only a vague notion of this “work” thing everyone won’t shut up about.
To be clear, I’m not saying I miss two hours of commuting every day. That’s 10 hours a week, 40 hours a month, and roughly 480 hours a year of time I’ve saved to do whatever I want with, other than sit next to random strangers on the train and pretend not to notice them. Freedom!
I guess what I’m saying is that I do miss working in an office, kind of. I miss having a job I enjoyed that I felt was heading down a career path I would love. I miss deadlines too, their quirky annoying constancy. I am struggling to maintain a sense of self that came easily to me when I had a job, a nameplate on a door I could close, a closet full of appropriate attire.
When Steve Jobs passed away, I listened along with the rest of America to his commencement speech at Stanford a few years ago, “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Below is my favorite quote from it:
I love what I’m doing now as a “home ranger,” and I do feel a sense of pride and satisfaction that I am doing great work. When I need time apart from my family to experience my own accomplishments, challenges, pitfalls, and rebounds, I have discovered many suitable outlets. Exercising, learning Photoshop, cooking, and blogging are all providing some fulfillment.
But nurturing my girls through their toddler years has by its very definition an end in sight, so I am acutely aware of the need to nurture my work self too. I still harbor a secret wish to attend nursing school; for the time being, day care costs prohibit me seeking that goal. Even without more school, I can see a future for myself in some part of the health system. I am inspired by Steve Jobs to find a career filled with passion, foolishness, hunger, and great work.
Keep your stick on the ice,
p.s. My title for this post comes from another inspiring quote, this time by Henry David Thoreau:
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.”