As 2022 is now well and truly upon us and before we know it, it will be 2023. It is now time to get those creative juices flowing and punch those damn keys. Now is the time to consider what it means to “jump off the merry-go-round”.
When I refer to a a merry-go-round, I am not talking about the children’s ride that goes up and down and round and round, I am referring to the merry-go-round of life. You know, that whirlwind in life that goes round and round at an ever increasing speed. Many of us get caught up in this never ending spiral of life and don’t seem to know what to do! It is easy really, even if the merry-go-round won’t stop for you, you takes yours chances and just step off.
The modern world has bought with it many advantages, but also many disadvantages. One of the main problems with the 21st century is the speed of life that seems to affect many of us. We have lost the ability to take time to “smell the roses”. Our lives are just rush, rush, rush, often not quite knowing where we are actually going. Is there a particular direction or destination in all this madness? Do we feel more fulfilled and content at the end of the day?
Many of us do not take the time to really define our life priorities. What is it that we are trying to achieve? We all know the feeling of rushing from one place or activity to the next, but have we thought about what is really important and whether we could reduce the speed of this whirlwind? It appears to me that the business of life often masks our ability to step back and look at life dispassionately, and with a degree of logic.
About 17 years ago, when I was a manager of a small manufacturing business, I was talking to the business owner one day and we started to talk about our work/life balance. During the discussion, he mentioned how hectic his life seemed and that he was having trouble keeping on top of it all. He had two young children under 5 and his wife was working full-time. Now the question of the advantages and disadvantages of both parents with young children working, became the talking point.
At this stage in life, my two children were both adults and the many questions every family has to decide who has young children, were long passed. Thinking about the whole question, from one who had learnt from their own experiences, gave me the ability to look at his family from a third person’s point of view. Certainly a lot easier than trying to address your own. After quite some discussion, by the way, this was after our usual closing time, I thought I would be frank with my views on the matter.
His wife was working at a fairly high profile and demanding job and it took a tremendous amount of her time and effort on a daily basis. She used to mention to me the actual costs of being involved with such a job. The cost of transportation, cloths, shoes, meals, parking, child care etc, all added up. After tax etc, her net take-home income was obviously less than it would otherwise be.
I suggested that it might pay, not from a financial perspective, for her to think about taking on a simpler part-time job which would give her much more time with her family. I suggested that he would also benefit from having a more settled and calmer life if something like that was to occur. He did not commit to anything at that time, but did take my comments on board.
About 12 months later we returned to the same conversation and things in his family had changed dramatically. His wife had decided to jump off the merry-go-round of life and to re-prioritize her whole families lifestyle. I had noticed that my boss seemed calmer in recent times and it was obvious that there had been drastic changes in his life. He went on to explain what had taken place and how things were a lot better at his place than they used to be. The work/life balance in his household had definitely been improved. They had both looked at life’s priorities and had decide to do something about it. His wife had decided to jump off the merry-go-round!
What the above example indicates is that sometimes having more of something, particularly money, does not necessarily create a happier and more fulfilling life. It was now time to “jump off the merry-go-round” and “take the time to smell the roses”!