Grist writer David Roberts is a big proponent of work/life balance. In an age where we constantly ask “can we have it all?” Roberts says we can. Our greatest enemy is ourself. He recounts a conversation he had with a friend who works 80-hour weeks:

He’s helping to run a tech startup, working 80-hour weeks, half that on the road, with barely enough time at home to maintain a relationship with his dog, much less a romance. The goal, he said, is to grow like crazy, get bought out by Google, and retire at 40. “It’s the big chill, man!” 

I shook my head and laughed. “I’ll take the medium chill!”

What’s the medium chill?

There will always be a More and Better just beyond our reach, no matter how high we climb. We could always have a little more money and a few more choices. But as we see it, we don’t need to work harder to get more money to have more choices because we already made our choice. We chose our family and our friends and our place. Like any life ours comes with trade-offs, but on balance it’s a good life, we’ve already got it, and we’re damn well going to enjoy it.

That’s the best thing about the medium chill: unlike the big chill, you already have it. It’s available today, at affordable prices!

Read his entire essay here (and his update here).

  • Bob Tabor

    Yes, this is a great post – I like that term: “medium chill”. I’ve run my own tiny company (it’s been mostly just me, but at one point I had 6 full timers), worked out of my garage, and saw my kids every day after school. I just took my oldest son to college knowing that I got to do something most dads can’t do: squeeze as much time out of our relationship as I could. It goes fast … why waste it in a cubicle in a job I hated? At one point I had visions of grandeur and dollar signs in my eyes and tried to expand the business, but came back to reality and realized I wasn’t willing to pay the price. So though I would never be rich, I had a great 12 year run at being a home-based self-employed dad.

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