Though my school days are long over, whenever Summer Break rolls around each year, I find myself reminiscing on summers past. It's a feeling of happy nostalgia for me. I remember my high school days being a carefree teenager with nothing in my pocket but plenty of time on my hands. My college days brought even more freedom with late nights out driving around town with friends, stitching together plans on the fly, and making the little we had go so far.
Even when I worked a 9-5 corporate gig after graduation, Summer Break retained its effect on me. I happened to work right next to a high school, so the memories really didn't have a chance to fade. In a way, I've always sought to rediscover that feeling in my life. I've always wanted to live in a bubble of chill, carefree summer nights.
Of course over time responsibilities grow, financial pressures build, and our once uninhibited friends become unavailable (which is the worst because what's a "summer break lifestyle" without companions to live it with?).
Life gets more complicated and we are expected to follow the rules society has laid out for us. Get a job, dive into your work, save money, buy a house, start a family, plan life around the children, put them through school, pay off your loans, and then finally, maybe, if you have the resources, retire and have some time for a hobby and a senior vacation.
It's not hard to see why so many millennials are rejecting this formula. Just attempting to type it out objectively was a task for me! Today things are changing. Mindsets, systems, expectations - all are adjusting to the legitimacy of a "summer break lifestyle" that can be moderated and interwoven into everyday life. What we desire from work, family, and even the society we live in is more fluidity and freedom. We can set up our lives to feel like Summer Break and still take care of business. This is the new expectation for many. Hopefully one day soon it will be the new normal.
What is your ideal work/life balance?
Do you think there is a shift happening in corporations and societal expectations?