Friday, April 15, 2011

The Balancing Act

*** My article that was published in the monthly magazine of Bethlehem Matrimonial April 2011 edition. This is about maintaining a balance between professional and personal life along with coping up with the status change from Single to Married.

A couple of years ago there was a shuffling in my team in the company where I worked, which resulted in me reporting to two managers at a time. Both of them were pretty senior in the organization and had their respective families with kids as well. Soon did I realize the striking difference in their management style where one was totally process centric whereas the other was more of face-as-it-comes type!

Coffee time with my managers provided insights into their family lives as well. Office hours used to end only by 8 PM everyday for the former while the latter was very specific about leaving office on dot to spend time with his family. This does not mean the first guy was less affectionate as during our conversations I had always sensed how proud he is, being a father of two especially with the second child being a spastic one.

Years passed by and it was my turn to say aloha to my bachelorhood. I was blessed with the presence of these two managers during my wedding. Little did I know that learning from others is just the tip of an iceberg when it comes to leading a family life; the bigger part was buried under the deeper waters of life! Slowly I started to figure out the magnitude of what is facing me.

The Bible taught us about the origin of human kind and how they spent their life together. There are numerous lives detailed out in this Holy Book of Christians which speaks about family life. While these details do help, hardly have I seen relationships pictured in the backdrop of the balancing act between professional and personal life.

Relationships, I realize is an ongoing process. This holds good for all sorts of couples, the ones that have fallen in love or the ones who decided to fall in love. In the first case a stage is set in the beginning and the characters perform with ease. For some, the stage becomes too familiar after a while that the whole arrangement turns out to be mundane. The second case on the contrary is about those who need to build the stage itself even before they think of performing. This becomes even more challenging since their decision to fall in love needs to be justified with their actions.

Whichever Act you are part of, the fact remains pretty clear. Our relationships need to be nurtured with an investment in time and ideas. This is all the more important if we are a working couple. All of us agree that we need a source of income, be it from a job or business to sail through the waves of life. I strongly believe that we also need to agree that we work to live and not live to work.

Irrespective of the family background someone grew up or the social circle they had or the educational and professional experiences thereof, the need for being together is a basic factor for any couple. The word itself says so, you become a couple not to be single anymore. Of course it does pose its own challenges.

In most of the cases, more than a quarter of our lives were lived without having to negotiate with anyone in particular, of course within the constraints of our family. The moment we decide to say ‘Yes’ the status get changed. This is something we need to remind ourselves often so as to appreciate the necessity of investing in time and ideas in our lives.

Making time for each other is a much needed virtue for couples who have known each other before getting married or otherwise. I am pretty sure most of us have heard people saying they know all the preferences of their partner. I remember a statement from a friend of mine, ‘it is plain silliness to say I know everything about my partner, since it is inevitable that people change, so do their preferences’. That leads to the question, what can we do about it? The answer is quite simple, spent time with each other. The bigger question then will be, how do we do it? The answer is, it is up to us to figure out how, since each couple is unique and we need to design what suits us. All what others or books could tell us are their perspectives. Customizing those suggestions in our lives is the key.

One of my bosses used to have a firm policy that he shall not answer the office calls on his mobile phone after office hours. His thought was crisp and clear. The time spent in office is for office and the time spent with family is exclusively for them. Of course this may not suit all professions, hence the need of customization.

Another interesting aspect is the often repeated statement of ‘don’t bring office work home’. I guess this is one of the most vital elements in creating time for family and hence the fact that the statement still holds so much of value even after generations of use. This must not stop you from speaking to your partner about what happened at office that day. A small act like this helps each other get a picture of what you endure on a daily basis. Ensure that you don’t go beyond the limits that you have nothing else to discuss! It is all about maintaining a logical balance between what happens in your life at work and at home.

If you have noticed there was a second type of investment I mentioned in one of sections above. ‘Ideas’. It is a brilliant tool which enables us in this balancing act. Each one of us have been bestowed with this divine gift. The ability to think and be creative! Use this gift to generate simple, workable ideas in our minds to make those time spent with our partner more effective and meaningful.

Surprises are one of the best gifts with which you could make your sweetheart jump up with joy. The important thing to remember is that surprises need not be expensive always. Surprises could be anything ranging from a totally new dish prepared, a bunch of flowers, an early morning cup of coffee or a loving hug from behind when it was least expected! All these and more could make a huge difference in the quality of time spent amidst the maddening rush in our lives to make both the ends meet!

Tail End: If you ever thought something is unrealistic, think again. Everything in life can be made realistic, provided you yearn for it!

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