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Work-Life Balance

The other day as I made my way home from work, a friend called and asked what I would be doing that evening, at which point I explained that I would be showering and heading out again to meet some other friends. At which point, she jumped in with a "I don't know how you do it. I couldn't go out again after a full day at work, I'd be too exhausted."

Now to be perfectly honest here, I was exhausted and I could have easily chosen not to go out once again but when I quit my last job, I promised myself in the new place that offers me better timings, I would maintain a better work-life balance.

And often, this is something I stick to it, even if it kills me to do it. Now, at this point, I know some of my friends are going to point out how I'm lucky enough to live bang in the centre of Bombay and that I have a mere 30 minute commute to work everyday. Sure, I have a job that has a 10 to 6 timing, but there's much more to it then that, I often have meetings, conferences and events that go on at all times of the day in different parts of the city and require me to hightail it from one end to the other.  But as I mentioned, some time in my previous job when I went through the rigours of a life on shifts, I felt I was losing some of my sparkle. I was tired and constantly cranky and all I wanted to do on the solitary day off that I had was spend it at home doing nothing. Which is not to say, that I don't have my off days now, where I beg off all social obligations and instead stay at home doing nothing but reading trashy magazines and watching television. But I often push myself hardest not to fall into that rut of work-home-dinner-bed. I travel and meet friends, or I spend much time in book stores buying more bags of books than I can afford, walking along Marine Drive or people-watching at coffee shops. None of which are earth-shattering things to do, but they're all important and they all define and enrich me in small ways.

Also, this means more often than not, that I am often declining work because I don't want it to take over my life. Now there are people here who will stand up and point out that the concept of work-life balance is bullshit and that work is a part of life. But I can only speak for myself here and my four and a half years of building a career for myself in a city as challenging and demanding as Bombay is that it is all too easy to allow work to take over everything else.

I think it was The Mad Momma who once pointed out her surprise when plans were made only for a Saturday night and I couldn't help but agree, considering how often it is I ask friends to meet up for coffee or a drink, only to have them put it off for the weekend. Now, I'm not speaking for parents here, but 90% of my friends are unmarried and don't have children, and still live with their parents so I can't really understand it. When did we become so rigid and inflexible? These are choices that we all have to make sooner or later, but I find myself breathing easier now that I know that I have time for family and friends and myself.

At 25, I might be worrying about this too early, but I'd rather have my priorities clear now and do what I believe in, then find myself floundering in uncharted waters later on, wondering whether all those hours I've suffered through work have been worth it.


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