Meaningful work and life balance, or “What I read during naptime that inspired me”

June 6, 2013

I’ve been thinking about meaningful work today.

Addy went down for a nap, the house was quiet and all I could hear were the whir of the AC and the deep breathing from the dog snoozing in the chair in the corner and the cicadas in the trees outside. I felt itchy in that “I need to be inspired” type of way, so I launched my Kindle for Mac and clicked on one of the so-cheap-they’re-practically-free essay collections I downloaded from the guys of The Minimalists.

And I started reading. And it was just what I needed to hear.

(Love when that happens.)

They were talking about finding work that means something to you. They challenged that no one would have to worry about work life balance anymore if they would simply make their life’s mission their work.

It’s closely related to the “find work you love and you won’t have to work another day in your life” cliche, but it still resonated with me. And it got me thinking about the work I do that means something. Means something to me, and others. Maybe even the world.

How much work do I do in any given day that means something? Yeah, doing the dishes and taking our unworn clothes to Goodwill and sorting through emails and returning phone calls is meaningful. Sure, reading to Addy and teaching her new words and connecting with her face to face is meaningful, you bet. I’d never argue differently. But what about meaningful work?

Today is Wednesday. How many times this week have I taken five minutes to spread the excitement and life-changing possibility of the Vemma story with someone new? The answer: two. So far. That is soo not enough.

How many pieces of original writing have I produced? Something that I could eventually share with others or consider part of a legacy for my children? My community? My answer this week: one. Maybe two if you count the slightly-lengthier-than-normal journal entry I wrote last night. Perhaps three if you count the essay you’re reading right now. Not terrible, but not great.

It’s only mid day on Wednesday, so the week is no where near over. But still.

It’s such a great feeling when you read something random, then realize that there might have been a reason that you were led to read that very thing at this very moment. Do you ever have those feelings? Best.Ever.

Anyway, I don’t really have a strong conclusion to all of this. Other than to perhaps consider “living a meaningful life” to mean productivity in home, relationships, parenting…and work. I think I sometimes let the first three cloud my awareness of the fourth. Take that back, I know I do.

Wrapping this back around to work life balance, if I’m fully present and intentional in the way I spend my days – no fluff, no time-wasters, no doing something simply for the sake of laziness or inactivity towards something else – than balance shouldn’t be an issue. It can’t be.


What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts.

As for me, I’m off reach out to two people I met last week about Vemma and squeeze in an edit of my children’s book draft. The naptime clock is ticking, and I’m determined to find that meaningful work before my meaningful parenting side kicks in again.

Sending hugs,

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