"I can't wait until the baby can talk."
"When I finish school, then. . . . "
"Once all my kids are in school. . . ."
"When we've paid off the ________, then we can. . . . "
We put in hard work while we're in school so that we can get a good job. We put in hard work on the job, so that we can make more money so that we can retire comfortably one day. Bill Butterworth, author of Balancing Work and Life cautions us not to stay confined to one of these boxes at a time, but to experience all of them together.
Our motto should be:What a great concept! In the podcast with Jim Burns on Homeword that I listened to, Bill summed up his thoughts on leisure by explaining why recreation was his favorite word for downtime. The words so clearly conveys the intended effect: re-create.
Lifelong Learning. . . Lifelong Labor. . . Lifelong Leisure
Here's my take on the three L's in that motto.
By learning we add to our enjoyment of and expertise in our labor and our leisure. When learning is pursued as a lifetime goal, there's no test. This is good for me, because although I have always loved learning, even when I was in school, where there were tests, the results part of learning was not as important to me. In life, you learn what you want to learn. It could be modeling after someone's success--Jesus, Lance Armstrong, or Oprah (that list was fairly random at first, but after reading it, I think that the last two probably think that they have more in common with the first than I would). You could teach yourself a new skill--knitting, writing, or cooking.
Labor is a way to showcase our talent and also to make a meaningful contribution to the world. Your labor could come in the form of financially, intellectually, and emotionally satisfying work. I would call that a Dream Job, and unfortunately it seems like most jobs don't fill all three categories at once. Your labor could be in volunteer service or in taking care of home or family.
Sometimes labor or learning can run our batteries down. Leisure, or recreation, is what charges them back up. Some people may have to be forced to experience leisure, but almost everyone could agree that there are definite benefits to leisure, in addition to the pleasure that comes from the activity, including bonding with others and reduction of stress. This is what people crave when they talk about balance.
This has helped me discover why I am enjoying reading so much. It combines learning and leisure quite nicely. If I could find a paying job as a reviewer or a book jacket writer then I could squeeze work in there and it would qualify for my Dream Job.