For most people, the line between work and play used to be very well-defined in both time and space. Work: 9 to 5, at office. Play: the rest of the time, in the rest of life’s spaces.
Nowadays, we can keep track of our work from anywhere, and it’s easy to interact with other time zones — eliminating the distinction between “work time” and “play time.” And since more and more people are now working at home, or telecommuting, the whole spacial delineation of “going to work” has also become, well… blurry.
Bottom line? The Flintstones’ “yabba-dabba-doo” five o’clock whistle doesn’t mean much to anyone anymore.
Which makes me feel a whole lot less lonely.
For the past twenty years, the line between my work and my play has been a finger-painted colorful mess. I don’t get paid to sail, but going to a regatta might lead to an exciting new client, blog post, article idea — or even all three. Reading my favorite sailing magazine or browsing a regatta website can be justified career-wise just as much as (or some weeks, maybe more than) logging onto Redroom or Backspace. Booksignings are fit in around regattas, conferences, or even that absolute rarity — a real vacation.
Wherever my work and play take me, the best is when they overlap. I’m very lucky to have spliced together so many of my skills (writing, sailing, reading, editing, desktop publishing, photo editing, communication) into a multi-faceted career that actually pays the bills. That spontaneous Tuesday afternoon adventure off-island might point me to the next story; so could the next well-planned regatta on the other side of the country. Either could also produce nothing more than great memories. But taking time for what I consider important keeps me fired up to work harder when I get back to my desk.
I received some sage advice from a friend when I first started out: “It’s not a living — it’s a lifestyle.” In other words, you may never get rich following your passion, but you’ll always be happy. So far, she’s been right. I’ve been racing sailboats around the world the last twenty years, and I’ve NEVER had to ask permission to take another week “off.” My schedule is dictated (mostly) by me and the priorities I’ve established — not by someone else.
So welcome, newbies, to the challenging excitement of the blurred line between work and play! May you enjoy taking responsibility for how your time is spent as much as I have, for the last two decades.
And now that I’m a published author, is it really okay to deduct all the novels I buy for pure pleasure?