Jessica Stillman’s “Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3,” explores how Randi Zuckerberg illustrates the difficulties in maintaining balance and preserving enough room for all areas in her life. In her opinion, to achieve a level of sustaining success, one can realistically only make room for 3 areas – either work, sleep, family, fitness or friends. This piece pushed me to consider my answer to this question and where I decide to dedicate my time. I chose to articulate my response in terms of categories:
Family: I adore spending time with my family. My childhood was filled with family dinners, movie nights and playing board games on random weeknights. I spent countless evenings hanging out with my mom, dad and sister. As I write, I remember our good times. This thread is still present in my life with my husband and daughter. As a whole, we gravitate toward introverted activities and thrive on the comforts in our home. We regularly watch sports and movies as a family, as well as spend our time reading together. We love when our extended family visits and regularly try to make it back to Texas when we have a chance. Family grounds me and I adore that they aren’t afraid to tell me what I need to hear.
Work: My writing is my work. Although some might perceive it as a hobby, writing is not only my passion, but my vocation. I’ve always approached working with respect and consider it a privilege to put in long hours to meet a goal. I have a multifaceted look at work – it may mean working hard to provide a clean house and dinner for my family. It might mean chauffeuring my daughter to and fro to activities. It’s all the activities I do that make me a better person, daughter, sister, wife, mother or friend. Working isn’t limited to your vocation, but all the areas where you seek to improve yourself.
Fitness: Exercising is one of my non-negotiables. I’ve often talked about how running is integral in my life. Walking outdoors and paying attention to nature or squeezing in time for a morning run is essential for my well-being. These activities have become my moving meditation. I’m cognizant that moving my limbs is a place of privilege. I learned this lesson when caring for my ailing father and witnessing what happens when you lose the ability to move your limbs.
Sleep: In my twenties, I prided myself on pulling all-nighters to study or finish a task. I’d cram at the last minute and pour buckets of coffee to stay alert. In midlife, I am reluctant to participate in activities which compromise my sleep. I tend to function better on a routine and late nights tend to sacrifice my mindfulness for the next day. I may not exercise or write or do the the activities which provide me the most comfort because I am too tired. Lack of sleep, in my opinion, doesn’t allow you to be as present as you may want.
Friends: Hanging out with my friends is important to me. Friends help me laugh, reflect and enjoy life. I tend to avoid large social gatherings where small talk is the buzz of the evening, but crave an intimate setting where good conversation is accessible. I do value a handful of friends and seek friendships among those people who I deem as native speakers in my life. This includes IRL friends as well as virtual pals.
I’ve learned each of these areas are important to me. I may not always commit fully to these areas every single day, but I know that each has a place in my life. I can’t necessarily sacrifice one for the other, but vacillate among all five in a given day. And maybe that isn’t perfect, but it is the right imbalance for me.
How about you? Would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Image: Le colline Marchigiane by BORGHY52 via Flickr.
Ahh, this is so hard! I choose all! Like I’m trying to do. It’s thought-provoking to think about what you’d limit or cut out. It’s definitely work and family for me, but not in that order! And then friends. I’m trying to do the sleep and fitness things better..
You raise an important point, Tamara. What we include is just as important as what we exclude. I’ve always believed saying yes to certain things means saying no to others – hoping that those decisions are in our best interest.
Family? Joy of my life. Work? I really work at getting more serious about it – I write and do energy work and pretty much dabble in both – this would be my weakest. Friends? I really only have a few close friends. I spend so much time with my husband, daughters and sisters and I move and travel a lot – so this is a weaker area for me too. Fitness is so important to me – I walk 10K steps a day most days, I take yoga and I cycle a lot….am motivated to get back to my weights for muscle tone. And sleep? I need it and sleep deep.
I’ve found having just a few close friends is all anyone essentially needs.
All of us likely need improvement in various areas – but I think, for me the important question is – Am I content? And that means constantly evaluating where I dedicate my time.
I choose all! Family is always first! Xox
I’m perfectly imbalanced as well,and it works for me. Family is #1.I’m really surprised spirituality is not included in the list(I din’t click on the link; I went by the list you included.) because for most of us it plays an extremely important role in our lives.
Susan, yes, I agree. I’m not certain why spirituality isn’t a part of her framework. Thanks for adding an important insight to the discussion.