Work-Life Balance and the Curse of Neverending Guilt

work-life balance

After years of career dissatisfaction, it’s kinda weird to have two jobs that I really really love.

My day job is amazing because I’m in an environment that truly values work-life balance. I’m out of the office by 4 pm every day and I never have to take work home with me. My boss encourages us to take advantage of our paid time off (she even told me that if I don’t get sick often then I should use my time for mental health reasons!). My insurance includes therapy and acupuncture benefits. I get a free gym membership and I’m encouraged to attend fitness classes on my lunch break (hellooooooo Zumba obsession). I feel valued for my contributions and supported by my team and encouraged to learn and grow.

My consulting gig is great because it fulfills my activism side. I get to write about the achievements of an organization that’s funding really important gender justice work and I get paid well to do so.  It’s amazing to have the opportunity to marry my marketing skills with a cause that I’m truly passionate about. I was initially worried about starting two new jobs at the same time, but I’m so glad that I swallowed my fear of taking on too much and accepted the position.

It’s pretty great!

But life right now is also just draining enough that when I get home from work and finish my consulting to-do list, all I can handle is eating dinner and then slaying demons in Diablo III with Conrad until I collapse into bed at 9 pm.

Work-life balance means not working all the time

I’m trying not to be too hard on myself for the fact that I don’t have much energy for anything fun right now, but I’m still plagued by a constant feeling that I’m not doing enough. I should be writing more blogs, I should be building my brand, I should volunteer for one of my neighborhood association committees…

Even with a full-time job that encourages work-life balance, my own inner monologue refuses to let up on the idea that I always have to be productive. Which leaves me with an exhausting sense of guilt that’s hard to shake.

And let me tell you: The guilt is no joke. I had a mini-meltdown a few days ago when I realized it’d been nearly 2 weeks since I’d hung out my sisters who live 5 minutes away from me.

There was a big part of me that believed my career was the one place where I was stuck. I thought that once I figured it out then I’d finally “have it all.” But–shocker alert–it’s looking like there’s no such thing as having it all!

Life is a constant balancing act. I feel really solid in my career, but I’ve let a lot of my friendships dwindle. I’m getting plenty of sleep, but I haven’t written anything personal in a month. I’m prioritizing my health by working out regularly, but I’m too tired to go out after the sun sets. This is my reality and these are the choices I’ve made.

I’m trying to be a little easier on myself and simply accept where things are now. I need to stop comparing myself to all of the badass ladies in my life who seem to so effortlessly juggle friendships and super cool jobs and beautiful vacations and still somehow have time to found rad organizations in their spare time. It’s okay for my life to look different (and who knows what challenges they’re struggling with).

I hope I can create more personal life balance as I get settled into my new schedule. At this point, though, my goal is just to allow myself what I need without guilt or judgment.

It’s okay to slow down. It’s okay to not have it all. It’s okay to just say fuck it and slay demons for awhile if that’s what you need to do to recharge.

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