Work/life balance: How to juggle your commitments and be happy

Posted by Diane Priestley

By the time we reach our 50s, we should have achieved some balance between work, self and others. But why does it take so long to achieve?

work/life balance

Remember your 20s? Partying hard, sleeping late, looking for love in all the wrong places, working long hours, struggling to pay the rent, buy your first car and save for that whirlwind trip?

Your 20s are meant to turbulent. Ambition and hormones are running rampant as you try to establish a career, select a mate and become an independent adult.

That was a lot to master in a decade. No wonder that the idea of life balance was hard to grasp and even harder to pull off.

In your exhausting 30s you probably found yourself raising a family while trying to hold down a demanding job and pay off a mortgage.

Having survived the obligatory midlife crisis in your 40s when your marriage, health or career collapsed under the strain, you have now recovered your pep.

Renewed and revitalised, you are sitting pretty. A little battered perhaps, but optimistic and resilient in your 50s, ready for a whole new exciting stage of life.

Well that’s MY story anyway! And I suspect you have shared a similar journey. Much as we like to imagine we are unique, people are not really that different.

Having reached the maturity and wisdom of your 50s, you’ve probably achieved, quite intuitively, a natural balance of time spent in the three main areas of of life: career, relationships and a healthy lifestyle.

Your work is the domain of your intellect and by now you will be feeling competent in your chosen field, with a stockpile of knowledge and skills while hopefully being open to learning more and adapting to new ways.

You will be smart enough to limit the hours spent working to a reasonable amount; say four to eight hours a day. Whether part-time or full-time, paid or voluntary, your work represents the culmination of your career and life experience and a way to make a contribution to society and future generations.

At this mature stage of life, you are wise enough to know that time invested into close relationships with family and friends is crucial to your well being. It is wise to make quality time with your partner, your children, grandkids and other family members and long-time cherished friends. However it is still possible to make new friends because new friendships are invigorating.

I include ‘personal growth’ in the category of relationships because it is through close relationships with others that we really learn to heal old wounds, communicate and love.

Finally as an Empty Nester with kids flown the coup, you can reclaim the interests and passions of your youth and revive your Lost Self that was buried under a pile of mundane chores. This is the area of life I call Healthy Lifestyle.

You should now have more leisure time to fill with enjoyable recreations, hobbies and interests. Make sure you put effort into keeping fit and healthy.

My interests include travelling and discovering different countries and cultures. I have a massive bucket list of fascinating places to visit before I kick the proverbial.

I love music. I never did achieve my ambition of becoming a famous folk singer-songwriter however I can now fully appreciate the musical talents of truly gifted performers! Over the coming years, I plan to attend countless London clubs and concerts and see every West End musical several times!

And I have a whole list of activities that I am determined to have a go at. These include hiking, cycling, kayaking, swimming, horse riding, skiing, learning to dance, playing tennis, joining a gym and actually going! And of course I am planning to lose that extra stone I’m carrying.

Fifty plus is the time to live life to the full and live life in balance. It’s the time to spend the right amount of each day devoted to the three important aspects of life to be a well-rounded, fulfilled and valuable human being.

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