At the age of 24, I started to question the meaning of my life. Despite me having a very challenging career with excellent monetary compensation and exemplary career growth, I still felt like this is not enough. At the end of the day, when I go to bed, I always ask myself “Is this the meaning of life? You go to work, do your job well and be paid well? Go to beautiful places sometimes and buy some material wants sometimes? Is this how I will live the rest of my life?”
Out of the 168 hours I have in a week, I spend 72 hours for work, 44 hours for sleep, 21 hours to eat and prepare for work, and 12 hours for travel. That leaves me 19 hours in a week to do “life”. At first, I thought I need “Work-Life” Balance. But I asked myself, if I work for a company that fosters “Work-Life Balance”, would I feel better then? Would all this feeling be gone? The answer was definitely, NO. Although, I still do not have the definite answers as to what will make me feel better. All I know for now is I need time to sort things out and contemplate without worrying about my bills.
Society has made us think that key to life is “Work-Life Balance”. But as we think about it deeper, this is really not the answer.
There is no such thing as balance.
When you say balance, it implies that they are in equal proportions. Why do we have to create balance between work and life? We are born to live, not to work. Work is supposed to be just a part of life. So, why make it 50/50? But if your work makes you fulfilled and happy, then, by all means, allot 80% of your life to work.
If we trace back to our ancestors, they did not spend most of their time for work.
Yes, they still worked, but for certain hours in a day only. They hunt or plant or gather what they need for survival only. But certainly, they did not need 8 or 12 hours daily to work for survival.
However, humans started to gather more than what they needed.
Thus, those who have more started to exchange it for other goods that they do not have but not necessarily need. And then, some people wanted even more, that they started to hoard “abundance” and sold it to people whom they have taken it away from.
And then, humans evolved further that gave birth to industrialization. I guess this was one of the main reasons why we have the concept of “Work-Life Balance” now.
Some people desired to get a bigger chunk of the “abundance”. And they needed people to make sure that they can get to keep this large chunk. That’s why they invented the current system of education to instill into the minds of many that you must study hard so you can get a “job”, be paid well and work for them.The truth is even if you do not get education from school, there’s so many ways to learn and become really “educated”.
Work-Life Balance is a flawed concept especially for millennials.
I know that many millennials out there are feeling the same way as I am. And for feeling this way, we suffer the fate of being called “entitled”. Millennials do not want to work as hard as the previous generations. Isn’t it that times have tremendously changed for the last 20 or 30 years?
The age of information technology and biotechnology have turned our generation 360 degrees. With information across the globe being so accessible, millennials have seen so many facets of life that we are starting to question what are the things that really matter in our life. Does owning a car or house, or having an impressive career, really matters the most?
I think millennials have become global citizens that we do not want to matter only on what’s around us, a concept that couldn’t be easily resolved by the realms of “Work-Life Balance”.
I have come to ask myself “Is it possible that there’s so much abundance available nowadays that millennials are starting to question our existing systems and way of life?” This abundance might not be in the form of materials things such as food or land. This might be the abundance in accessibility of information. The age of information technology paved the way for millennials to see a bigger picture of the world, get to see so many beautiful and amazing places (may it be in person or through the social media or internet), get to know inspiring stories in each corner of the world, get to understand better cultures and so on.
Isn’t it that millennials have started to feel that their lives are not just about their strife to personal survival? Isn’t it that we have seen so much of the world that we try to seek our relevance in this complexity?
I do not have the answers for now and I really do hope to find it. What I can give for now is to share how we see the world in hopes that you will find the answers too.