Growing up I've always been fascinated by language. By being able to mingle words side by side to inspire emotion, perspective and understanding. To bring thoughts from within to life and to share them. Delving deeper into the magic of human connection. Spoken and written communication opened up the possibility to brainstorm, collaborate and work together, fueling innovation and common purpose.
In order to do this effectively, we had to give things names, starting with ourselves. Then we defined the color blue so that it wouldn't get confused with yellow, happiness from sadness, love from war. This way we could all be on the same page. Language became an agreement between people that this meant this and not that. However, just because we agreed on a term to describe something, didn't mean we were able to capture it's essence. Often in the act of defining, we limit or confuse the truth of what's being said.
Work-life balance. A phrase commonly used to refer to someone juggling work and everything else in their life. Inserting a hyphen between the two, as if to imply a separateness from one another. Creating the illusion that what you do to make money falls into a different category than all the good stuff, the stuff you truly enjoy. A dangerous belief that comes with powerful implications.
If I see my work as draining and void of purpose, it makes sense to seek balance between it and the rest of my life. When the average employee works 8 hour days (if not more), in conditions unnatural to fostering creativity, it seems the balance point becomes close to impossible to find. Left with only the weekend for adventure and play, 2 out of 7 days is the ratio a majority of us are living with.
So, instead of 'work-life balance', what if we simply said balance? What if we saw the entirety of our lives as something to harmonize? Including work, including exercise, including time spent with friends and family. Doing this would require that you enjoy your work, your exercise, your social life. That you choose activities that enrich your life, not drain it. This doesn't exempt us from challenges and tough times, but it does promise a life worth while.
The words we use have power and if we choose to change how we say things, we have the power to change our lives.