By Gillian Harrison
I’ve put a lot of pressure on Thursday lately. I have built Thursday into a Glorious Day. On Glorious Thursday I will get everything done. On Glorious Thursday I paint my toenails, stock my cupboard and service and clean my car.
The problem with Glory lies in living up to great expectations.
In reality, taking into account pick ups and drops offs, Glorious Thursday consists of 5 and a half hours with just one child. Five and a half hours to catch up on work, catch up on writing, catch up with friends, catch up with reading and catch up with myself. Did I mention catching up with online reading? Or catching up with emails? Plus, there’s always catching up on shopping. And household chores.
See how I set Thursday up to fail?
The Myth of Glorious Thursday unravels around the edges by about 1.30 pm each week. Like the busted myth that it is, Glorious Thursday collapses upon a hypothesis too far removed from reality.
I turned Thursday into my weigh-in day earlier this year. As soon as O went back to school, as soon as I knew I wouldn’t be at work, I penciled in Thursday as a day for striking a balance. I imagined myself dragging out the metaphorical scales and getting my work-life balance sorted. But, even with O at school, the washing never finishes, the writing never reaches completion, the dishes always need doing. Forever playing catch up is like chasing gold at the end of the rainbow. Impossible and way too much for poor old Thursday to handle.
I think the problem with Glorious Thursday lies in my perception of success. I’ve read enough articles and posts on work-life balance to know that I am not alone here. Somewhere in the last decade Work-Life Balance became the method for Having It All.
In the past I have been agnostic in my view toward work-life balance but now (as in about two hours ago) I decided I don’t believe in it. Not one bit. The balance part assumes that work and life are two different things, that it is possible to separate one from the other. But that’s like trying to cut off your shadow. The two are forever connected – the point at which they meet depends upon where you are standing.
“You can’t be successful at everything. We hear a lot of talk about work-life balance. Nonsense. You can’t have it all. You can’t. Any vision of success has to admit what it’s losing out on, where the element of loss is. Any wise life will accept that there is going to be an element where we’re not succeeding.”
(Source: TED talk by Alain De Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success).