Friday, July 15, 2011

Sometimes, Work isn’t the Most Important Thing

As guys, we tend to be very focused on our work; what we do becomes who we are. It affects our self-worth, our social standing and our sense of well-being. There’s a great tendency to make that the most important priority in our lives; letting everything else slip at times, so that we can focus on our work. This situation is even more pronounced for those of us who are professionals. Somehow, we’ve all been taught that our work comes before anything else.

While I have to agree that work is important, I have to disagree that it is the most important thing in our lives. Once upon a time, I was on that fast-track route, climbing the corporate ladder, trying to be a “success.” Fortunately for me and for my marriage, I learned that work is not the most important thing in my life.

Although I still work a lot, I’ve chosen to work as a freelancer. This allows me the flexibility that I need to be a successful professional; while still being a successful husband. As I said, I still work a lot, but when my wife needs me, I can be there for her.

You see, I no longer work to feel valuable. Nor do I do it to be a success. I work so that I can pay the bills. That means that my work is suborned to other things in my life, instead of being my life. Since my purpose in working is to support those other things, then I can choose not to work, when I need to focus on those other areas of my life.

Let me give you a simple example. My wife needed to go to the dentist today. Since we live on the Texas/Mexico border, we go to the dentist in Mexico, where it’s a whole lot cheaper. But, Northern Mexico isn’t a very safe place to be right now. So, I don’t let my wife go there by herself. When she needs to go, I take her. Since my work schedule is flexible, I am able to do that, and work later to make up for it.

The point is, she’s more important to me than my work. So, when she needs me, I need to be there for her, not off working on something that doesn’t allow me to be available for her needs. I’ve made some life-style decisions, which allow me to live in a way, where I am available to my wife. That’s important to her and it’s important to me.

How many times has your wife needed you, but you couldn’t find time for her? I know there were lots of times where I failed in that area; before making some important decisions. Yes, my wife wants me to make a decent living; but not at the cost of not having time for the more important things in life. Since I’ve decided that she’s more important, I have to live that way. 

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