one of our favourite sayings of all time was given to us by a lovely lady that we met while working in the South of France. we were chatting one day about how calm, relaxed, and happy the European people are, and she said to us, “that’s because in Europe, we work to live….but in North America, you live to work.”
wow. bang on, isn’t it?
this comment really resonated with us, and we try to remind ourselves of it as often as we can, especially when it feels like work is taking over everything. and boy, doesn’t that seem to happen to all of us way too often? if i asked you what your “top priority” is, what would you say? health? happiness? family? friends? your children? of course! these are the things that make life worth living. but if i asked you what drains most of the energy out of your life what would it be? too often the answer is work.
now, the thing is, unless you are the latest lotto max winner, or are the direct descendent of a founder of a very large and successful hotel chain, we have to work. the formula is simple: work = the money we need to live and enjoy the things in life. but at what point do we pass the point of working to live, and end up living to work? how much is enough?
recently we were faced with this issue in our career. after years of living the gypsy life, i was offered the opportunity coveted by so many: the full-time job. it had all the trimmings – a bit more money, 40 hours a week, security, benefits. so…we went for it. after all, it’s what everyone strives for, so it must be the best way, right? we’d be crazy to pass it up, right? well, it turns out that depends on what’s really important to you.
it didn’t take long before chris and i were working all hours of the day, at completely opposite times, never seeing each other. and when we did, we were so exhausted that we didn’t feel like doing any of those things that the extra money was supposed to allow for. as a matter of fact, we didn’t have any time for them anyway. we were rarely seeing our family or friends. we were living to work, not working to live.
so, you can probably guess that after a very deep look into our life and realizing what was really important to us, we decided to do what some may think is crazy, and give a bit of it up. we decided to cut a few corners here and there to make up for the financial shortfall, and just work to live. don’t get me wrong, if Kelly Ripa mysteriously slips on some marbles and falls down the stairs, and Michael Gelman calls for me to rush in and take her place, that would still be great! but if that doesn’t happen, that’s ok too. the most important thing will be that if he does call, we have great friends, great family, and each other to share the news with.
….and that’s todays bit of TLC.
ps – do you work to live, or live to work?