I recently read a blog post titled "The Tail End". Author Tim Urban provides a thought provoking view of a life measured in activities or events instead of time. For example, As I write this I am 46 years old. Let's assume that I am blessed and will live until I'm 90 years old. Since I only take international vacations every other year, I only have at MOST roughly 22 more international vacations before I die. And that assumes that in my elderly years I'm still traveling the world…which is possible but unlikely. When I think about my life and how I choose to spend my time, it puts a stark and very sobering perspective on life choices.
For example, by many people's standards both Mrs. Jake and I have individually achieved a level of professional success that is considered enviable. Having said that, there is a cost. I spend more than half my time away from my family (by away I mean in a different city or state) and when I am in town or even with them on the weekends, I am often juggling calls, meetings that run into the evenings, etc. For her, she travels for business even more than I do. For example, she goes to Hawaii twice per month for a week at a time and on the other weeks of a given month, she's traveling to other clients.
For many people their jobs or careers provide a sense of accomplishment or personal fulfillment. I'm not that guy. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I do, it just does not define me nor does it provide me with a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment. It's just a means to an end for me.
In terms of quality of life, the first thing that I want to say is that I am blessed beyond measure and I am humbled and VERY thankful for that. I'm not complaining about my 1st World problems. What I am doing however is simply trying to make the best decisions that that I can by asking THE question(s) that I feel really need to be asked… for example, we as responsible adults do what we have to do so that we can support ourselves and our families and also to create a lifestyle. The lifestyle part is the gottcha. When is enough, enough? After a certain point I think it's a fair question to ask: "Is all of this really worth it?"
I've never been one to lean towards overextending myself or living beyond my means. I've always been driven to increase my means if I wanted something more. Is that a natural thing? Having said that, one thing that I've learned about myself is that I'm much more motivated by the fear of loss than I am by the joy of possible gain. In other words. If I work hard to achieve something, it's not an easy process to get me to give it up.
So, with all of that, have I created a work/life balance monster? Maybe but I refuse to succumb to a midlife crisis. I will consider my choices and do my best to make smart decisions. I'm excited about the future.