Work/Life Balance What?

2012 has brought with it, in addition to a gross lack of winter, an abrupt change and new challenge for me–one I have never had to worry about. When I began a new job in late January (one of the Top 5 Most Stressful Life Events), I was ill prepared for the toll on my body and psyche that an additional five hours of work per week would have.

Zoe: Career Gal

Essentially, I went from singing, “9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’,” to crying, “8 to 5… am I ever going to do this?”

Most people would shrug at getting to work at 8am, but as I have previously–and emphatically–stated, I am not a “be someplace at 8am” type of person.

I went from an extremely sedate workplace, where I was fighting to stay awake during the day, to being on the go for nine hours straight. So let’s add this up: I’m actually awake and getting ready for work before dawn, I’m in an extremely busy work environment for 45+ hours a week, I’m fighting all of my night owl urges and/or passing out by 10:30pm from sheer exhaustion, and I’ve gone from being an internet diva to, “I really hope I have time to update my Facebook status once a day and blog twice a month.”

(You knew it was coming:)

Me trying to balance it all.

Up until this point, I never had to struggle with the age-old juggle of work and life balance, primarily because I became accustomed to multi-tasking and taking some time out of each day to browse the internet at work for personal use. (I know–first world problems, right?) Internetting/personal computer time is now reserved for nights and weekends, or scrolling through my phone at lunch time while I try to decompress and replenish nutrients in my body. Most of the time, I haven’t had the inclination to come home and turn on the computer. My brain and body just don’t have it in me.

On the one hand, I come home feeling fulfilled and that I have made a contribution–relatively novel concepts for me in my work history. On the other, that means I’m feeling what people with careers feel on a day-to-day basis: tired!

In my new life, I have a handful of hours to myself when I get home, and I have been hoarding them for time with my dude, time with my dog, and staying on top of the few shows I like to keep up on. (Now that Downton Abbey won’t be back for another 9-12 months, Mad Men will have to fill the hole come March.)

Then, for Valentine’s Day, I gave my other half a Kindle, which has been an immense help to him with his enormous reading list for school each week. It took only an hour or two to realize I would have to have one of these for myself, so I decided to go for it and get one, also.

Talk about life changing.

I own lots of books but have rarely, if ever, pulled out the enormous hardbacks of compilations to read, like my Jane Austen collection. As Pride & Prejudice is one of the free classics Amazon offers, I downloaded it and plowed through it this past week, a feat I never thought I’d accomplish, since my brain at younger ages couldn’t comprehend the archaic language, and bookshelf space has been scant for a few years now, rendering large tomes to storage boxes in the attic.

So now what free time I have is divvied up much more conservatively; I’ve actually been getting back to one of my favorite pastimes and reading things not just on the internet, thanks to the weightlessness of e-books. I’m even poring over the daily paper, a habit I never generated in any of the other cities in which I’ve resided. I’ve had to admit to myself that I’m really starting to put down some roots.

My beloved blog is no longer checked nearly as frequently and writing posts is all the more difficult (but still just as special and important to me). Here’s another kicker: I don’t even have children, so I can only speculate how full-time moms and dads who have schedules like or busier than mine manage it all. I’m assuming that’s why sleep becomes a thing of the past.

All this is to say I’m going through a life adjustment and I hope the readers who keep coming back will continue to do so when I am able to publish new musings. If any of you out there have advice on work/life balance, throw it at me! Or even just relay a funny comment or story. I have missed being on here these last few weeks.

I’ll end this with a few things I’m looking forward to, since I won’t be able to devote a blog post to them:

1. The Oscars (I have seen maybe ONE film, by accident, that is nominated.)

2. My official Thin Mints arriving so I can freeze and then devour them.

3. Spring arriving and staying, since Winter has really half-assed it this year.

4. Traveling and seeing old friends–I have one confirmed trip so far, and I hope to have another booked soon.

5. Re-populating playlists to CDs, since some asshat stole my CD case from my car with many years’ worth of burned discs in it. You better be enjoying them, whoever you are.


  1. I can’t believe we’ve seen only one best picture nominee this year! That just means that Moneyball will have to win, of course.

  2. Seriously, I can’t believe Moneyball was nominated. The Artist all the way, baby. Or Hugo.

    Zoe, I hear you about the exhaustion, the ridiculous feeling after work and not wanting to look at a computer most of the time. It will take a while to adjust. I’m just now (after about 2 months) starting to feel like a person again. You’re much younger, so it probably won’t take as long, but I’m not working a particularly stressful environment, either. Sleep is paramount. It will help you feel like you. And be sure to eat right and drink plenty of water! That will help, too.

    • Thanks Julia. I’m trying! Some days I’m so busy, I have to remind myself to fill up my Camelbak. Staying hydrated is a huge part of the energy dips. I work with some super humans, though, who work longer than I do and don’t complain of exhaustion (????).

  3. I haven’t switched jobs but mine became much busier and more stressful at the beginning of this year so I can relate to your situation. I have been going non stop everyday all day since the beginning of the year without even a five minute break to read a blog or some other personal thing. For me I found yoga and meditation to be very helpful for balancing work and my sanity. Recently I have started plugging in to music at work and that has really helped keep me calm and collected. There is a wonderful yoga channel on Pandora that plays relaxing music and I love that. Try stopping yourself a few times each day and just breathe.

    • I can’t stream at work but I think if I could do some of it while listening to my iPod, that’d be ideal. Trouble is, there is usually something going on every minute so it’s hard to find pockets of quiet time. I know how you feel about yearning to even have time to read a blog! Great suggestion about the yoga/meditation.

  4. #1 I love your voice; you really come through in your writing
    #2 I love your energy
    #3 I think you are doing an amazing job balancing it all!
    #4 I am glad you are not abandoning your blog!
    #5 You remind me of me, just about 15 years ago 😉

    • Thank you, Amanda! Definitely not abandoning the blog, though I wish I had more time/energy to come home and write after long days at work. As long as I keep writing, even if it’s just once a month, I keep on keepin’ on. I’m glad you come back to read once in a while!

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