I've decided that I have to coin a new word for the former student/current friend I'm visiting here in Oregon. She's not a workaholic, she's a "lifeaholic." I don't think I've ever known anyone who crams her days more full of everything that makes her life worth living.
She's an attorney with her own family-friendly, feminist-inspired law firm, specializing in family law and women's law, in particular protecting women against violence.
She is a tireless advocate for abused women and children, instrumental in helping to found Corvallis's Advocacy Center for women.
She is currently teaching two women's studies courses at Oregon State University (this would be a full-time teaching load at many universities). I attended one class of hers yesterday and can't remember when I last learned so much in a three-hour period.
She has two school-aged children and spends enormous amounts of time ferrying them to gymnastics meets and chess tournaments, as well as supervising homework, cooking huge family breakfasts every morning, and being involved as a parent in their school.
She has a six-month-old puppy.
She gardens, knits, quilts, and reads for pleasure.
I "collect" lives I find enviable to study them to see possible ways I can add richness to my own already rich life. This friend's life is wonderfully inspirational. She does have a secret weapon: a husband who is a terrific father and a full partner in every conceivable way. Plus, she lives in the beautiful small city of Corvallis, Oregon, where her law office, her children's school, and her university classroom are all just five minutes from her home.
But her main secret weapon for leading a lifeaholic life just seems to be love: love for her work, her teaching, her family, her students, and her community. And love is, hands down, the best secret weapon that there is.