Responsibilities, we all have them, some more than others. For many of us they are the bane of our existence. We feel overwhelmed, dreaming of all the things we would like to do if it weren’t for all the things we have to do. And yet, there is a certain sense of pride that you experience when you have met your responsibilities, when you know you are taking care of things. Those who shun their responsibilities are often shunned themselves. We do not admire those who abandon their responsibilities; they are seen as “irresponsible” (of course) and selfish. And though we may admire what appears to be a “carefree” existence in others – many of us don’t feel like it is a real possibility for ourselves. The trick of course is in finding a balance.
“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.” (And if you can get past the scene in “The Shining” and think about it – that simple saying has a potent ring of truth to it.) Loaded down with the responsibilities of home, family and work – many of us could (and often do) go from one task to another throughout our day – leaving little time for relaxation, reflection and pleasure. Though our lives are not filled with the toil of our ancestors, they are also far more complex than they were in times past as well. Finishing one item on our agenda – simply makes space for the next to rise to the top of the list – never affording a real break. So what do you do?
There is an Italian expression, which simply translates to: “Work to live. Don’t live to work.” The culturally relevant idea takes in a certain prioritizing and valuation that many of us seem to miss. When I get to the end of my life – I would hope that my epitaph says something about how I “lived life to its fullest” not simply that I “paid all the bills and made sure there was always clean laundry”. Life itself is fleeting, our time here unknown, our future uncertain – so making time for all of the bits is the challenge. When you include enjoyment in your list of responsibilities you open up the possibility for a fuller experience and simply a balanced life.
Choose the activities that fill your day wisely. Value all the aspects of your existence from your work and family to your interests and passions and allow yourself the space to incorporate it all into your regular existence. After all, if you don’t take responsibility for your own fulfillment and happiness, who will?