Balancing Act

Having been shed of normal, full-time, one-employer type of employment since December, I find that I’ve had time to look at the scales of my life: how balanced am I?

I’ve spent so much of my life as so many have, working whatever jobs and whatever hours seem necessary at the time to make ends meet.

Last year while working for a post-secondary school, I found myself teaching and counseling on topics that I hadn’t looked at very closely in many a year. One of those topics was balance. As I stood in front of a class of students who most likely would never make much money even after their “education”, I realized that they may have to work unbalanced for most of, if not all of, their lives.

I frequently use myself as an example of what not to do and I told them my life wasn’t balanced. That I spent way more time devoting myself to paid employment and remodeling houses and too little time relaxing and socializing with family and friends. My daily “routine” was dictated by employers, financial goals and inner pressures. I was stressed, lonely, regretful and longing for things seemingly not possible.

Two layoffs and a lifestyle change later, I find myself trying to slide back into those habits. When we moved out here to the “boonies” even further away from Athens, I told Tommy, “No more commuting. If I have to live out a dirt road in the midst of such idyllic splendor, I won’t commute any longer.” Or words to that effect.

Problem number 1, how do I make money? I have proved that money making isn’t necessarily what I do when left to my own devices. Aha, I’ll turn my interest in web design into a concerted effort to obtain contract employment that way.

Problem number 2, how do I live in the meantime? Aha, I’ll use the money from the sale of the house to finance a trial period of at least a year.

Problem number 3, how do I keep from going crazy not ever seeing people? Aha, I’ll get a part-time job at Greater Georgia Printers to provide a little income and a little people contact.

Problem number 4, how do I keep from spending all my savings before I get established in self-employment? Aha, pick up a second part-time job with the Echo as a reporter.

Problem number 5, how do I make enough money to make me less uneasy and allow me to do what I want and need to do with this house? Aha, work more hours at both jobs.

Problem number 6, how in the world do I find time to work on learning and marketing the web design if I am working 2 jobs, remodeling a house, joining the Maxeys Woman’s Club, socializing with friends, spending time with son and family, my siblings, etc? Aha, let’s regroup.

Let’s see, I spent over 7 hours yesterday on the computer for Greater Georgia. This morning I am writing a column. I plan on painting the living room for a while today before I go back in the Greater Georgia. I’ll go by the library again (I usually read a book every day or every other day). I’ve talked with my daughter-in-law this morning and caught up on the news. I still have a small computer problem remaining that needs fixing and somewhere I have to find the time to work on my web site at

Hey, you know what? That’s pretty balanced, very full, of course, but it’s definitely less stressful. Am I making enough money to ease my fears? Nope. Am I enjoying myself? Oh, yes. My blood pressure is lower; I’m slowly getting into shape; my weight is staying down; I see my husband on a regular basis for the first time in years; I read when I feel like it; I’m started to get into a routine that allows me to get the most important things done. Am I satisfied? Nope, never. If I could make more money, if I could finish unpacking, if I get another bookshelf built, if I could get the house cleaned, if I could just slow down a tad…