I can be a bit of a sad sap when it comes to certain movies, a hopeless romantic. Last night I found myself re-watching a movie I’d seen some time last year. We all have those movies, when we see them on television, no matter where it is in the movie we stop everything and watch. This movie, About Time is not only a nod to my romantic side but also one that reminds us of the passage of time and the things that we unintentionally allow or not allow to happen within it. We take so much for granted and we also lose track of time.
Sure, sometimes losing track of time can be good. When we’re in a boring meeting and we allow our minds to wander off or even when we’re spending time with family and friends. Where it is unhealthy and tragic is when we become so absorbed in our jobs that everything else starts to blur. For as many years as I can remember my immediate family have always joked about how many hours my mom works. She rebuffs our attempts to have her see just how much time she spends in the office, but instead she reminds us of how we’ve all benefited from her long hours. But there is a fine line. My mom is my Superwoman. She manages to do so much. She works long hours, cleans the house, cooks daily meals and is there for everyone in our family. She’s the post office, the bank, the “Responsible One.” However, mom is also the person who, when we have our weekly dinners, opts out of playing family games. Instead she goes off to her room to watch British series’ on Netflix.
I’m beginning to understand. Now that I’m starting to make some headway working full-time from home I can see that what she does is remarkable. I tell her all the time that she needs to rest but I do know why she often plays down my need for concern. For the past month I’ve worked every day. Most days I wake up and am in front of the computer for over twelve hours. I sometimes forget that I’ve not eaten or taken a break. I jump from one project to another. In the evenings when my husband wants to watch television together I’m too tired to be overstimulated by another massive screen. I work and then reset and do it all over again.
Life seems to be occurring around me and because my focus is straight ahead, I’ve started to lose myself and even lose my footing. Man, or in may case woman, can not live on work alone. We can become so consumed with what we feel we must do that we are unable to see the things we should do. The past few days have reminded me that although I may need to work in order to pay the bills, I also need some down time. We’re not machines, we aren’t meant to exist only to punch a clock. Life can pass us by and we not notice until it’s too late. Yesterday I was in my 20s and now, I’m in the middle of my 30s. Most of that time had been spent working.
I cried. For the first time in months I was able to cry. It wasn’t for very long but watching the movie reminded me of the life that I live outside of my job. At this point, there really is no life outside of it. My work, although a big part of me, doesn’t define me. And because of that my body has been in a recent state of rebellion and declien. I can be very manic about my work. I can go through days at a time working marathon stretches and then I crash, fully expended and of no use to anyone. I’m learning that life, like humans are multi-faceted. If we turn our full focus to any one thing, we’ll burn out. There must be moderation in all that we do because too much of a good thing can in fact be bad. What is the opportunity cost when we choose our work or some other activity over the other things in our life like our family and friends? We stand to lose much more than we often consider. Take the time to live life. Enjoy it. You never know how long you’ll have it. Live each day appreciating its struggle and triumphs and most importantly, take the time to rest and recover.
This article appeared on page 5A in the 7/8/15 issue of The Union-Recorder.