I had a pretty good day at work yesterday. I was feeling pretty good about it, comfortable but challenged.
And then I read a facebook post from one of my colleagues that basically says work life balance can never be achieved because anything worth fighting for is unbalancing (Hi work colleague if you're reading this, love you).
I walked in the door, snapped at poor unsuspecting Inspector Climate who was about to walk out the door to go for his run (sporting some fantastic short shorts - meow!), and then I proceeded to fight back the tears.
The industry I'm in - the one that is fighting climate change - isn't known for work life balance. In fact, people work extraordinarily long hours, people volunteer days of their time, people work on weekends, late nights, early mornings. Those people aren't me.
That morning I got work at 7:30 and I checked my email for the last time at 5:30. It was an unusual day because I took a lunch break - to do team bonding with my colleagues - I can't remember the last time I took a lunch break. I work hard, but I constantly feel inadequate.
I constantly feel like I'm the only one who seems worried about this mythical work - life balance conundrum.
My main anxieties about my job is that everyone else around me in my office appears to be more dedicated then I am, and it upsets me to no end. I'm always the one that raises my hand and says "What about work-life balance? What about self care? What about healthy people?"
Am I not fighting hard enough? Am I not dedicated enough? Are penguins going to die because I didn't attend meet ups with other "industry" people, that I didn't work longer hours, sleep less, fight more, attend less yoga classes, hurt my relationship with Inspector Climate, eat shit food, gain weight, support Coles and Woolworths instead of organic food producers (you know, because I don't have time to shop smart), and cry myself to sleep at night?
I admire and wish I had that kind of attitude to my work. But the truth is, I don't. I don't believe climate change can just be fought by working hard at work. That's a HUGE part of it...HUGE. But it's not all. It has to be fought at every level. It has to be fought by changing the food we eat, by taking the time cook it with love and comfort for the people we love and comfort. It has to be fought by people who grow their own food instead of supporting big business. People who take the time to shop for gifts made by local small businesses instead of corporate giants. It has to be fought by building societies of healthy people who feel good about their bodies because they exercise and when they feel good they act 'good.' It has to be fought by people who travel and take time off to see the world we're trying to protect and save. It has to be fought by people in loving relationships who have partners and friends and family, with networks of people who will build communities out of love that will fight too.
And yes, it has to be fought by working hard, and putting in long(er) hours.
The balance will always be challenge, just like solving climate change, but if we don't aim for it, fight for it, push for it - I don't see us solving The Problem We Face at all.