An Exquisite Balance

It’s a Monday!

Mondays can be tough sometimes, yes? Why, songs have been written about how tough Mondays can be . . .

And this is not just any Monday. No, this is the first Monday of the New Year! So we look back at all the fun we had during the holidays, and with a grin and a certain thickness of mind and body, we bid adieu and get on our way.

As we do so, let’s look at how all of us economic beings (this is, after all, a blog about financial health) feel in the first week of the new year, shall we?

It’s good to do so because, at this time of the year more so than any other, we can all judge how well we’ve aligned our economic selves with the other parts of our selves. We can do that by seeing how we feel as we climb back into the saddle — back into our working selves — after being mostly off work for a week or maybe even two.

So how’s it feel?

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Many of us find that climbing back into the saddle after being essentially off work for a week or maybe even two is pure torture. We’ve realized how much more we like life when we’re not doing what we do to be economic beings, and even though we might wonder whether we would find it as much fun if our lives were always like one big holiday break, we imagine that we could figure out how to make it great, and that, at the very least, we’d like to have the challenge.

Others of us find the climb back into the saddle tantamount to coming home, as, for us, being away from work is like being away from our selves — removed from that which is us. Those of us who feel that way probably figured out ways to be working here and there over the holiday, because not working is, in essence, not being.

A subset of us folks in this latter category feel that torture element especially strongly because for us the holidays means family time, and, in an unhappy twist, being with family is like being away from home.

A lucky few of us, though, are at home both when we’re at work and when we’re at play and everywhere in between; we’ve aligned our economic selves with the other parts of our selves (Schedule C filers and business owners note: when it gets harder and harder to distinguish between personal and business expenses, you are accomplishing something that is very good medicine for most people).

So as we climb back into the saddle after our time off, and as we stare at a brand spanking new year ahead of us, all shiny and fresh, we feel good on all accounts: we’re happy to be back at work because we see before us many exciting things to accomplish, just as we’re happy to have had some wonderful time off, hanging with those we love while carrying a lighter accomplishings-load. Both are good; both are in balance. And together they make our world go ’round ‘n round ‘n round ‘n round, with all of our various selves — all of our various working selves and all of our various non-working selves — humming right along.

If you are lucky enough and smart enough to get to this exquisite state of balance (I reckon it takes both), then retirement takes on an entirely different meaning. Indeed, for those few who find the balance described above, the whole idea of a cliff retirement (i.e., the kind of retirement where one day you’re working full-time and the next day you’re never going to work again for the rest of your life) looks risky, fraught with peril and just plain ol’ out of balance. Why come to think of it, it could even kill ya!

So as you sit there in your particular saddle as you read this on January x, 20xx (or whenever else it might be when you are reading this), here’s hoping that you feel both (a) reluctant to be back in the saddle (because you had such a great holiday and want more more more) and excited (because you are so very much looking forward to making the year a wonderful one for your economic self, with much promise, lots to do, and lots of creation and good to be accomplished).

Here’s hoping, then, that both the rearview mirror and the forwardview window make you feel equally (precisely equally) smile-ful, and that you feel equally (precisely equally) smile-ful when you contemplate both the social parts and the working parts of your days to come, and that your only regret (not often contemplated, but necessarily contemplated as you go along on your merry bliss-ninny way) is the fact of your own inevitable mortality, because these exquisite balances are so very, very lovely and rare.

But that regret is for a day not this day!

Cheers, all,


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