On Balance

On Balance

A good life is a balanced one. The right amount of the right friends, the right amount of the right family, the right amount of the right play, the right amount of the right rest, and the right amount of the right work. What is “right” is determined by each individual.

The right amount of the right friends is a handful of very close friends and a larger, but not too large, other handful of respected acquaintances. Too many close friends will not allow enough time to devote to any one of them, and diminish the time spent with family. The same criteria can be applied to family.

Work affords the play that follows, and play should be satisfying enough so that, after play, there’s a certain eagerness to go back to work, just as after tasting so much sugar, one begins to look forward to tasting salt. After either work or play, proper rest is required to reset one’s system. A life with the proper balance of all the above elements will result in an enjoyable and sustainable life.

As far as I know, there has never been an award given for a balanced, sustainable life.

Awards are given to those who have sacrificed at least one of the above elements in order to excel in at least one of the other elements. There have been awards given to scientists who have sacrificed their play, family, friends, and rest in order to solve a problem. Often during acceptance speeches, award winners will thank their family and friends for “putting up” with them during the process of creating an award-winner. Awards are most often given to those who sleep little and are relentless in their work, in order to reach a certain goal.

For the typical worker, the average allotment of his life, including weekends, is this:

8 hours of work (including preparation and driving time)
2 hours of play
2 hours of family
2 hours of friends
2 hours of house work
6 hours of rest

If we weigh the amounts against each other, work time is equivalent to the combined time playing, being with family and friends, and keeping house.

After retirement, with a little luck and good health, one has approximately twenty years of play, family, friends, and home to offset forty-five to fifty years of work.

Maybe the only award given to living a balanced life is a balanced life. The value of this award varies with each individual.

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