Designing my life: a self-assessment

I once told a friend in college that I would never be happy because I think there's always room for improvement in life. While I've somewhat distinguished happiness from content, I'm definitely not completely content with my personal and professional life. Sometimes I'm wonder if I'm trapped by my degree, and whether what I'm doing is making me actually fulfilled.

I discovered Designing Your Life by Bill Burnet and Dave Evans on Blinkist, and hope that following their exercises will help plot my way forward. The first step is assessing four critical areas of life: Health, work, play, and love.

I'd like to think I'm pretty physically healthy: I workout a few days a week, try to sleep at least 7 hours each night, and eat mostly balanced meals. Since entering the field of law, my mental health has not been as great; there are times when I felt an extreme amount of stress, and I even had some of my worst mental breakdowns studying for the bar exam. It hasn't been easy even after a year of being admitted to the bar, and although I've been doing more yoga, stress is still present in my work life and general adulting.

As a "young professional," most of my life revolves around my work. I've already devoted 2/3 of my life (elementary + high school + college + grad school) to get to my current career so it makes sense to use my only "skillset" of lawyering. Even if I'm barely making enough to get by on my public servant salary, I'm very grateful to have a job. Yet I'm still always thinking about the next step or what my ultimate career goals are going to be, and with so many options (and fear of falling back) in law it's hard to figure out how to truly be content.

A majority of my leisure time is spent relaxing at home watching tv, browsing the internet, or playing video games. Next is occasionally eating out or hanging out with friends, and then it'd probably be travel and spending time with family. If I could I would travel more, but I have to be cognizant of my limited vacation time and saving money for boring responsible things like student loans and a rainy day fund.

My love language is definitely spending quality time with people, so as long as I make a bit of quality time in my life with people that matter, I'll have love present in my life.

Do I have balance in these four areas? No, but I'm working on it. After this assessment I realized I definitely don't want to be defined by just my work, and even though work is always on my mind I need to find more ways to craft play, love, and work to improve my mental health. Also, maybe people who are "happier" have found ways to combine these areas with one activity; i.e. a personal trainer takes care of their health, work, play, and love (if they love what they do and/or their significant other is also a trainer/at their work?) all at once. Overall, looking at these areas makes me appreciate what I have but is also a reminder that life is all about balance.


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