Balancing work, family and your own life if one of the most difficult tasks given to us through out our brief time on the earth.  Hind sight cannot give me back years of wrong decisions but it has paved the way for life paths and opened the door to improving on my relationship with the next generation.

I always put work and my insane Aquarian need to help others first. My kids grew up through phone parenting and the three oldest ones work way too hard, missing the beauty of watching their children grow. Our work environments are nothing like they were thirty years ago.  Lets face it – there is no job security; no retiring with a gold watch and pension at your retirement party; no solidarity among the workforce and company picnics; it’s a dog eat dog world.  I was planning to retire with thirty years in New York State pension system and had put in eighteen of that with the same company until a new Executive Director came along and brutally cut out all of the middle management. Outside of that, I’ve always been a fighter. I got another job at half the salary and cut back on all expenses.  This all happened right around the 2008 economic crash which I had been given a heads up on by our local County Planner who had been meeting with economists and in his wisdom said, “Hold on tight. We are about to see an economic downturn that hasn’t been seen since our grandparents in the Great Depression”.

Gone are the days of eating out and stopping by my favorite eatery for lunch that I stopped in advance of the crash.  But I rediscovered my fondness of gardening, which I never had time for due to work and community activities. I love my grandchildren and do as much as I can financially, however (hind sight), they like simple things like picking raspberries and making cookies. I found this out after my kids told me some of their favorite memories were fishing and the year we were really broke so I wrapped a mason jar with marshmallows picked out of boxes of cereal. Family time are moments that can be lost forever or memories are built on.

That’s balance.  I still satisfy my need to help others by picking up a book bag filled with school supplies for a kid in need or help local rescue groups. But it’s within my means. Not a frenzy of fundraising and hands on which takes time and money at personal sacrifice but a healthy balance.