Contrary to popular belief, millennials are one of the most overworked demographic. Especially in Asia. Here overworking is seen as a sign of good work ethic, it's supposed to show how dedicated one is. The later you stay after work hours the better worker you are seen as. And with such a high population and such low resources, a lot of us can't even afford to not work overtime because we can be easily replaced in this highly competitive market. Here there's never a shortage of candidates who are ready to sacrifice everything for a stable job.
So the overworked millennials continue to overwork themselves. Then they get stuck in traffic for an hour and reach home so tired that they have energy only to zone out in front of their tv (or Now, Netflix) or scroll mindlessly through their social media feeds. Worse is the case of couples who decide to have a family. It takes a heavy toll on them, financially, mentally, and physically. Especially the women as they are on work mode 24/7. Many might say well women in the past used to manage kids, what's the issue now? Well, women in the past had literally a village or a neighborhood or at least an extended family to help them. They lived in joint families where a lot of child rearing chores were distributed. That's not the case now in highly nuclear families where women work both outside and at home.
Our cities are islands of families now and parents are paranoid to let their children wander beyond their small island. And you can't blame them, the world has become so unsafe that you can't just trust everyone.
So here we are at a time where people toil and toil and toil more and then to soothe their aching limbs and joints and their overworked minds they splurge. They buy a lot, they eat a lot, they spend a lot. And they want the world to see and share in these little moments of store bought happiness. As if the external validation from others will convince them that their life is not all that bad. I am guilty of doing this myself.
I am not trying to be cynical and dampen your spirits right in the beginning of the weekend. ??I am just thinking out loud here...we need to carve out some time for ourselves in this madness. For ourself and our loved ones.
Mothers and fathers, sometimes it's okay to not do all the items on your checklist after you come back home. No one will die. Take some time to sit down and breathe. Free your mind. Zone out if required. Watch your kids play. In fact get down on your knees and play with them! This time you have is so so precious. After a couple of years you won't regret the things left undone in the list. But you will regret the time not spent with your little monsters.
Those without kids. Take time to be with yourself. Don't go jumping from work/study to entertainment to social media. Give your senses a break. Your brain is overworked. Give it some rest. Take some time, even if 5 mins to do something you are passionate about, something which relaxes you. Be it doodling, journaling, gardening, baking, running...anything at all. I sometimes try to find my zen in the minutes of prayer scattered across the day. It forces me to break away from whatever that is keeping me distracted/occupied and dedicate some time to quiet prayer in front of the Lord. Five times a day no matter what. It really helps in reorienting yourself when there's too much going on.
I have no profound wisdom to offer when it comes to finding the elusive 'work-life balance'. Like everyone else I grapple with not doing everything, being tired to do anything else, or trying to make myself happy through retail therapy. But one thing I know for sure is that finding happiness and peace don't require much of you. Sometimes it's just unplugging from all things that scream 'look at this! Look at her! Look at him! Look how happy this person is and how unhappy you are!'. Practice being mindful of all the good things going on for you and be truly grateful for them. You'll find you are one step closer to a content life.
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