These years living in Australia (while still working remotely for my London employer) have been a rare exception in my life where I have been able to isolate a specific time-frame and analyse the events that have taken place and consider all that we have learnt. This opportunity for retrospection has been healthy in so many ways and has helped us to evaluate some of the experiences and to apply what we have learnt in new and positive ways.
An old saying that we have found to be particularly true is; ‘It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey’. We’ve all heard this one but, if there was a single sentence that encapsulates everything that my family and I have been through and our feelings towards our life right now, it is this. We have spent years learning this and there it was all along; the lesson was there already in a single sentence – but without the experience, it doesn’t have the same resonance or power.
So, if I had to identify where we are now and where are heading, I would simply say that we are somewhere on our journey. We still have goals that we want to achieve and we have a general direction that we want to head in, but we don’t have such a strong determination and focus on the ‘destination’ anymore.
We began this journey looking for a destination that would provide a reward for all of our hard work and sacrifice. We were looking for a life package; all boxed up and ready to go. We have learnt that it just doesn’t work like that and that the ‘destination’ is actually found embedded within the ‘journey’. The life that we were seeking has been found on the journey, and that the ‘destination’ was only ever a figment of our imagination. This journey has created an amazing lifestyle for us and hopefully it will continue for a long time to come, but I don’t know if we’ll ever reach a destination as such.
It could be said that a translation of the ‘destination’ in our modern working culture would be retirement. There is a famous psychology principle of ‘delayed gratification’ which measures how children who can demonstrate the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward will potentially go on to achieve more in their adult lives. This principle is very important in the development and maturity of individuals and how they contribute to society, however in the context of our working lives; there is perhaps a case to suggest that we may be taking the concept of ‘deferred gratification’ too far.
If we are denying ourselves too many of the good things until such a time that we may be too old to really enjoy them; then is this wise? If there are other ways that allow us to balance some of the reward now, while still working towards and investing our time and efforts in achieving further rewards in the future; then shouldn’t we explore these options?
I really believe that remote working has the potential to not only offer us a good work/life balance but also a good reward now/reward later balance.