Graham Lawrence Musings: BalanceThis short post on balance in life, really started as a seed in my mind a few years back after reading the palliative nurse’s article on regrets people have when dying.  Every man the palliative nurse worked with regretted working too hard. That is stunning and it gets you thinking. What are the most important things in life? When you lie there dying, what do you regret if anything? And what kind of life or personality leads to a life where you have no regrets?

Work

We all have to work, or you do unless of incredible wealth when it becomes an option. So the main thing is trying to find work that you enjoy and that is set by a contracted number of hours, so you have enough time for other things. If the financial angle works, then part-time work or work where you control the hours are best. That is all a balance in itself: income-time. But it also impacts on how much money do you really need. That decision involves honesty as not everything we want is always worth making the time sacrifices to get. Then there is the question of retirement. Being in my 50’s that is something I find myself thinking about more these days. Financial stability versus quality of life with health thrown all raise their heads. One thing is for sure, you don’t want to leave retirement until when you are incapable of enjoying life.

And of course all these decisions are linked to a lifestyle where you have the choice, so thinking things through I like probably most of the readers are already in the top quartile for choice.

Family

Its a big one, especially when living on the other side of the world to some of your family. I have my wife living with me in the town I work. I guess that is lucky for a start as not all husband’s and wives can do this. My daughter is in a university 600 km away. Not too bad. However, the rest of my family are 10,000 km away. Now Skype makes things a lot better than they used to be, but a digital video chat is no way the same as face to face. And even with air fares coming down it still costs to travel and involves in my and many others cases annual leave allowances, so we have another time-money situation. For sure though you need to maximize time with family and as a priority it must be one of the top ones. That brings us back to the article by the nurse again and every mans’ regret.

Hobbies and Other Pursuits

These are sure needed and probably the best way of leading a stress free life and creating the conditions for a relaxed move into retirement at the end of a working life. So finding time and if needed money for them when younger and through working life is another part of finding balance. I used to be pretty bad at this, but find it a lot more important to my life now.

Friends

Its a bit like family. Do you really find enough time for each other? I find, that I see actually see friends less than I would like, and that is a regret, but I do try to be better digitally, which is still not good enough. The question though is, as with all balances, where else do I reduce time to make more time to see friends? Can I find a better balance?

 

And I posed the questions at the start:

What are the most important things in life? When you lie there dying, what do you regret if anything? And what kind of life or personality leads to a life where you have no regrets?

But of course to ask a question does not mean it is necessary or even a good idea to answer it.