Look at a mainline tube station between 7.30am and 10am and you will see a platform full of tense-browed commuters all of whom are packing themselves like sardines in a tin can train. Purportedly they are all rushing to get to work before their company collapses without them. If we did a one-question survey of the office-goers on that platform I can bet most of them would choose 'yes' to a slower pace of life than 'no'. I feel a wistful longing.
When I worked my hours were never too long but travel and looking after my home meant that I was a bit of a speedaholic, constantly juggling lists in my head. Now, thanks to the fast paced life of one such urbanite, I have taken the summer off work and am able to take my time looking for a new job. All summer I have remained gleefully, gainfully unemployed for the moment. Life has expanded (oh so easily) to fit in all my free time. Continuous houseguests, piles of books, coffee in the sunshine and the odd job application are just a few of the gainful (life experience, not moolah) activities that fill up my day. I have had a few months of the slower pace of life now and consider myself somewhat an authority on the vie paresseuse. With the chance to stop and smell the proverbial roses I've discovered that they smell really nice!
Having said that I'm ready to go back to work and the only change I'd make is to constantly remember that smell. I want my work life to mingle easily with a combination of summer-like laziness (want to think that thought even in dreary winter) and a flurry of social activities.
The work-life balance argument goes both ways. This is the only time in life where we have enough energy to do more, see more, read more, eat more, earn more, be more, more more more more..... By the time we have enough money to stop and smell the roses its our knees that will buckle under! Flip side, we all become slobs, rolling out of bed at noon to soak in the summer sun, doing little else but spouting how this is the time of life to smell those roses, before we're too old and mouldy. result: little or no moolah to bide our elder years by.
So whats the balance? How much should we do, how often should we stop and smell those flower, how much money is enough etc? All questions that have no correct answer or rather an unique answer for each and every individual. While you do some soul searching for your unique answer do stop and smell those roses. May they inspire you!