Work and Life: Blurred Lines

A colleague recently remarked that “we aren’t working from home, we are living at work.” Similarly, several articles have noted that during the COVID-19 era, workdays in the United States and several other countries, including France, Spain, and the United Kingdom, have increased by several hours a day.

That’s certainly been true in my case. During the COVID-19 era, my workdays have been starting earlier and ending later, and many weekends are often just an extension of weekdays. During a particularly busy stretch recently, I was logging in before 6 a.m. and ending the day after midnight for several weeks in a row. That’s not sustainable.

As I’ve been heads down on work, I haven’t had the time or energy to reflect on whether this is the life I want or what steps I’d need to take to change the current situation. While I theoretically still want to pursue a different life, reading some of my prior posts now, they seem to have been written in a different age and it’s hard to put myself in the same state of mind.

This isn’t the first time I’ve lost sight of my otium goals or the motivation to pursue them. But, most of those times have been because my workload has been sustainable, and I could envision maintaining that work life balance for the foreseeable future. That’s certainly not the case right now.

However, I’m not ready to call it quits yet. Work has been unusually busy, but it’s a temporary state of affairs and it’s been a unique opportunity to work on new and interesting things. The reasons for staying at my job are still largely as true today as they were at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, I still try to keep the silver linings in mind when I can.

We’ll see what the months ahead bring, and I reserve the right to change my mind. For now, I’m treating work as a marathon, although the finish line is barely in sight. All I can do is make the best decision I can with the information at hand. Continuing on the current path seems like the right choice, even if the days are a blur.

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