I’m only a little over a week into my Bucket List project, and I’ve already had a mini existential crisis (again).
It happened last Sunday night, the evening right before I returned to the office after a week and a half off for the holidays. I realized that there are a plethora of things that don’t feel right about where I am personally and professionally, but the biggest problem is something that I don’t really know how to fix: 90% of my happiness is dictated by my 9-to-5 job. And that’s an issue.
Why? Well, I know it’s a growing trend (especially among my fellow millennials) that the line between “work” and “life” is blurred: it’s not about work-life balance, but work-life integration — recognizing that, in this day and age when we can unintentionally work around the clock, our professional responsibilities bleed into our personal responsibilities, so we don’t really “turn it off” when we get home from the office.
That mentality is a problem for me because, at the end of the day, that’s not my philosophy: I’m recognizing that truth as my career goes on and as I continue to lay the foundation for this project. I’m not someone who wants to have that line between work and play blurred; I’m comfortable taking the old school approach and just coming into the office every morning, making small talk as necessary, but mainly keeping my head down, churning out work, “clocking out,” then returning home where I don’t have to check my email and I can clear my mind of anything work-related without harboring any guilt.
It just doesn’t seem like that’s the case for me right now. And something needs to give…
Which brings me back to this project that I’m working on right now. I came to an epiphany earlier this week that, in addition to be something that will allow me to try new things, this bucket list also gives me something concrete in my personal life, which has been sorely lacking in meaningful distractions from work. And I just need to make sure that I don’t lose sight of it: this past week, I’ve noticed that I don’t really have a desire to practice piano or call up tattoo parlors or do anything that will lead me to finally cross something off my list; I’ve been using “I’m tired” and “work stresses me out” as petty excuses.
That needs to change. So, I’m going to make sure that I check at least one of those 25 items off by the end of this week. That’s a promise.