Our efforts to live a well-rounded life are often frustrated by social pressures. In modern American society, it is not unusual for people to leave vacation days unused and to work far in excess of forty hours a week. Even more astonishing, people who use their vacation days and work the standard number of hours often feel guilty for doing so! Taking a day or a weekend off to relax or cultivating a hobby is seen as being unproductive. Mentioning a book or television show you enjoy is met with snide comments of “Wish I had time to read/watch tv.”
Too often, our culture places an inflated sense of value on “productive” activity. Those who cannot work are seen as of little value – takers, rather than makers. Those who choose to live a less hectic, more well-rounded life are seen as unambitious or even lazy.
Our priorities are completely reversed. It is good to have a job or other passions that give you life and that you find compelling. Equally valid is having a job that pays the bills so that you can spend time with family and friends, taking care of yourself and others. or just doing things you enjoy. As one of my friends often reminds me, “We are human beings, not human doings.”
So, what can you do to address these misplaced priorities: