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The phrase “work-life balance” has a lot of connotations that I don’t really like, and it’s also a topic of some controversy in academics and science careers in general (I’ll be writing more about that later).  However, it’s also a very useful phase in a lot of ways.  I mean, I love my new home town, and I’m excited to live here, but I moved here for my job.  If I want to stay here and keep my job, I really need to work at it.  So I think it’s kind of silly to say “It’s only a job – no big deal.”  To a huge extent, for better or worse (and often for worse) my job is part of how I define myself and find purpose in my life.  None the less, I will not stay sane for long enough to enjoy my life if I don’t maintain some degree of balance between my work life and the many parts of my life that don’t directly intersect with work.

This week is my first full-fledged attempt to really start having a life outside of work.  I have a running schedule written out to start building up miles for a marathon or at least a half-marathon if I get too busy.  I have my first yoga class in about an hour, and I have my info into the gym to get matched up with a personal trainer for strength work.  (BTW, it is totally strange to me that after a completely un-athletic life up to the age of 23 or so, I now get grumpy when I can’t exercise.  It is one of the more major transitions in my life.)

I also have my first private lesson for my awesome musical instrument this week.  I’m worried about making time to practice, but I desperately want to at least maintain the skill level I developed during my last postdoctoral appointment.  I know I’ll never practice if I don’t take lessons, so I’m hoping this will help motivate me to at least put in 15 minutes a day.

Finally, one thing I really need to do is make contact with people outside of work-related gatherings.  I’ve gone to so many events now where I meet new people that I’m completely tired of it.  I just want to get to know some people and get past the awkward phase.  My goal is to have some people over or meet them at a bar this weekend.

Super secret confession: one thing I totally haven’t done is talk to friends and family members on the phone.  Seriously, I am almost the worst person in the world for calling people.  It’s like a punishment, until I actually start talking to them and realize how much I miss them.  In fact, sometimes I make Shaggy listen to my voicemail if I’m too stressed out to face it myself.  The only upside is that I rarely go over my cell phone minutes.

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