In The Balance

I hesitate to even type the phrase “work-life balance,” because

but the fact remains, I DO need to figure out how not to be so f*cking exhausted all the time. Because if I don’t, I’ll eventually drop dead — and that benefits no one, least of all myself.*

Some of it is seasonal; in this respect, I’m succeeding beyond my wildest dreams: despite bipolar weather and a three-hour window between dawn and dusk, I am not only alive but ambulatory, plus my brain is functional.**

Some of it, however, is structural:

  • My commute is a long, hellish slog — one somewhat mitigated by the fact that I can read whilst in transit, as well as its low, low (monetary) cost, but a slog nonetheless. Even if our budget could stretch to include another car, I suspect I’d be MORE stressed out — traffic is so bad that our roads are just serpentine parking lots.
  • Work is busy, always busy. I like my job (though I’ll never like our physical office space). It’s just that I’m just not sure how long I can afford to do it. Even factoring in (infrequent) cost of living raises and variable pay, I think I might be earning less than I was five years ago. Unfortunately, I don’t have the kind of skills that would transfer to a better situation, if one exists. (I don’t think it does, by the way.)
  • Vacation time accrues like stalactites in a limestone cavern — and still, the days expire. Which means that I have to use them as soon as I earn them, which means that I don’t often get the chance to visit my family or take actual vacations. Every now and then, I get to have a long weekend, during which I catch up on housework.

Which brings me to the root of the problem: everything I’ve just described is pretty much how it is to live, all the time…so there probably isn’t anything I can do.

And, in fact, it’s not so bad. I have a good life. I’m well aware of my good fortune.

But I also appreciate when things run smoothly and with a minimum of fuss, which means that if there are some relatively minor changes that could be implemented to trim some of the annoyance from my existence, I’d like to figure out what they are and make them.

Of course, I realize I’m not helping my cause with my general level of activity — I’m used to casting a lot of lines, which is a great strategy until they all hook fish. So, I’ve got another year on my committee, this time as Madame Chairwoman; I’m taking Class #2 of Night School; and I’ve got a few projects in the pipeline. It can all be done, because it must be done, but I’m not gonna lie, it’s going to kick my @$$.

I suppose my hope has always been that if I work really, really hard now, things will get easier down the road. However, I’m starting to think that perhaps that’s not the case. I’m starting to think that I’ll just have to keep paddling faster just to stay where I am, for as long as I last.

Happy New Year!


*My designated raison d’etre is, essentially, to serve as the responsible adult so that others don’t have to. That’s the deal, I guess. I’m not sure WHY that’s the deal, but who am I to question what appears to be the natural order? Anyway, the way it works is I hold down a steady job, pay my bills, maintain a stable residential situation, and put my surplus earnings in the bank, thus enabling those in my kinship circle to make questionable life decisions. (And boy, do they ever!)
**Fortunately, I’ve got a Boxhound to pin me down and fall asleep on top of me whenever anxiety threatens to overwhelm my brain.

"dog tired"

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