Reclaiming Identity Beyond Work: The Better Version of Yourself Is Waiting For You To Close Your Laptop

In today's fast-paced world, it's easy to get lost in our work or business, often forgetting that we are so much more than our job titles. This is a heartfelt reminder and guide on going beyond societal labels and exploring the various facets of your life. It's about understanding that you are not just your work or business but a vibrant mosaic of experiences, passions, and pursuits. Whether you call it ‘becoming a renaissance person' or ‘living a balanced life,' this is about embracing a holistic approach to life that ensures personal growth, fulfillment, and happiness on a journey of self-discovery.

It's easy to tie our identities to our work titles. We live in a world that asks, “What do you do?” instead of “Who are you?” We're left stumped and sometimes revert to answering, “I am [insert your job title here],” when we are afraid to show ourselves to people we've just met. Why is it that we struggle with answering this question? Because we have lost touch with our identity beyond work. Filling other buckets is as essential as discovering who you are outside your career or business.

When did you last talk to someone about your dreams and hobbies? Or refer to yourself as anything but your work title to describe who you are? If you're still thinking, we must fix that ASAP.

Your occupation is not the sum total of your existence. The unique individual behind that title is filled with passions, dreams, talents, and a personality that extends far beyond work.

The Necessity of a Balanced Life = Better Version of Yourself

A balanced life is crucial for personal growth, happiness, and well-being. It's not just about juggling your work and personal life – it's about enriching different aspects of your life. Imagine your life as a pie divided into several slices: physical, social, artistic, and mental. Each piece requires attention and nourishment. Failure to nurture one aspect can affect the entire balance. Pursue physical activities for health, maintain a vibrant social life to avoid isolation, explore artistic pursuits for personal satisfaction, and engage in mentally stimulating hobbies for cognitive growth.

Becoming a better version of yourself transcends achieving milestones in your career. It's about cultivating a rich, well-rounded life where work is just one component. It means nurturing your body, building meaningful relationships, feeding your creativity, challenging your mind, and caring for your emotional well-being. It's about becoming a ‘renaissance person' – a multi-faceted individual who embodies the richness of life. The journey toward becoming a better version of yourself starts when you close your laptop, step outside your work zone, and begin exploring and nourishing these different aspects of your life.

The Importance of Filling Different Life Buckets

From prioritizing physical well-being through exercise to finding joy beyond monetization in the artistic bucket, each bucket plays a vital role in our overall fulfillment. Balancing work and social life in the social bucket, challenging hobbies for growth in the mental bucket, and prioritizing self-care in the self-care bucket are equally important. Recognizing and nurturing each aspect of our lives can achieve a more satisfying and balanced existence.

Think of these like pie slices. Mmm…pie. Each piece deserves equal attention and care. Just as you wouldn't want a pie with only one type of filling, your life should not revolve around just one aspect. Embrace the different slices of your life, explore them, and find what brings you joy and fulfillment.

Every individual is unique, so what fills your life bucket may not work for someone else, and that's perfectly alright. The point is to experiment and explore until you find what resonates with you.

Also, some of these life buckets will overlap. For example, playing pickleball with friends can be a social and physical activity. Participating in an artistic hobby like painting may also provide a mental challenge.

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Embracing the Life Buckets: A Quick Guide to Physical, Social, Artistic, Mental Fulfillment and Self-Care

Self Care Bucket: Prioritizing Your Well-Being

Yes, I'm starting with this one because we always put this one last: the self-care bucket. This is all about taking care of your emotional well-being. It involves regular self-introspection, mindfulness practices, and activities that nourish your spirit. Because at the end of the day, your mental peace and happiness are paramount, far beyond the reach of your work or business.

The Illusion of Self-Care: What It's Not

Let's debunk some myths about self-care. Self-care is not just about indulging in spa days, shopping sprees, or binging on your favorite TV shows. These activities might offer temporary relief but don't necessarily contribute to your long-term well-being and fulfillment. Self-care isn't about running away from challenges or responsibilities, and it's not an excuse for self-indulgence or avoidance. 

It's not about saying ‘yes' to every desire but selectively choosing what aligns with your health, happiness, and personal growth. Proper self-care is not superficial or fleeting; it is a consistent practice that replenishes your body, mind, and soul, helping you become a better version of yourself. It's about making tough decisions, like setting boundaries that may initially upset others. Proper self-care sometimes means saying ‘no' to instant gratification for long-term wellness and happiness. 

Physical Bucket: The Power of Exercise and Body Movement

Regular exercise is more than maintaining a good physique or achieving health goals. It's about stimulating your mind, boosting your mood, and providing a much-needed pause from work demands. It's a time when you can focus on yourself, listen to your body, and build resilience physically, mentally, and emotionally.

There's no need to become an elite athlete or spend hours at the gym daily. Incorporate physical activities that you enjoy into your routine. It could be as simple as walking briskly, practicing yoga, or cycling around your neighborhood. The goal is not to compete with others but to prioritize your well-being. Even small changes can lead to significant benefits. So, step out of your work zone, take a deep breath, and allow your body to move, express, and feel alive. You'll soon realize how these physical activities contribute to improving yourself, elevating you beyond your work title or business.

For those with limited mobility, struggles with motivation, or uncertainty about where to start, remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Start where you are. Begin with low-impact exercises, such as chair yoga, light stretches, or simple resistance band exercises, which are especially beneficial for those with limited mobility. If motivation is your struggle, consider enlisting a friend to be your workout buddy for moral support, or try using fitness apps that offer personalized, step-by-step guidance and track your progress to keep you inspired.

The objective is not to push yourself to extremes but to make consistent, manageable changes. Take it slow, listen to your body, and be patient with yourself. The journey to a balanced life is not a race but a lifelong commitment to self-improvement.

ELIZABETH ALARCON - BLOG POST QUOTES  - Reclaiming Identity Beyond Work: The Better Version of Yourself Is Waiting For You To Close Your Laptop - VOLTAIRE
“Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time.” – Voltaire

Social Bucket: Balancing Work and Social Life

As important as work may be, it should never come at the expense of social connections. Maintaining a delicate balance between work and social life is vital to avoiding feelings of loneliness and isolation. It's crucial to make time for your family, cultivate deep and meaningful friendships, and actively participate in community activities. These interactions foster a strong sense of belonging, enhance emotional well-being, and provide a robust support system outside the workplace. By nurturing these social connections, you create a rich relationship tapestry that brings joy, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose to your life. Prioritize your social well-being alongside your professional pursuits, as the benefits of a thriving social life extend far beyond the confines of the office.

No matter how busy life gets, this is one bucket I refuse to compromise on. I try to reach out to friends and family regularly, schedule catch-up sessions or game nights, and participate in community events. These interactions are my escape from work stress, a reminder of what truly matters in life, and a source of joy and rejuvenation.

When I worked in an office, I always took breaks and stepped away from my desk to chat with colleagues or join in on office events. You can connect with coworkers outside work tasks, even in a virtual work environment. Organize virtual coffee breaks or after-work hangouts, where you can bond over shared interests and build stronger relationships. 

When 5-6 o'clock rolled around, my do not disturb kicked in on all my devices; I'd log out of all the work apps and call it a day. Damn it, I have dinner plans. BYE!

Artistic Bucket: Finding Joy in Creating Art Beyond Monetization

This is a sacred space, a sanctuary for creative expression. It's a place where we can freely indulge in activities that bring us immense joy and ignite the fire of passion. Here, there's no need to worry about monetization or external pressures. Not everything we create needs to bear a price tag. It's not always about selling; sometimes, it's about basking in the joy of creation, celebrating your imaginative prowess, and treasuring those precious moments of unadulterated artistic bliss. 

Whether it's dipping brushes in vibrant colors to create captivating paintings, weaving words together to craft mesmerizing stories, capturing moments with a camera to freeze time, or even tending to a garden and witnessing the beauty of nature unfold, this space encompasses it all.

When we immerse ourselves in these artistic pursuits, we embark on a profound journey of self-discovery. We delve deep into the realms of our inner selves, exploring uncharted territories and unveiling hidden emotions. It's a liberating and therapeutic experience as we express our most authentic selves without inhibition.

Let your imagination soar. Embrace the wonders of artistic expression, for within this space, endless possibilities await.

Capturing the World Through a Different Lens

For me, photography has become the ultimate artistic escape. It is more than just capturing beautiful sceneries or special moments; photography serves as a lens that allows me to view the world from different perspectives. This practice has become a silent form of storytelling, where every snapshot encapsulates a unique story, emotion, or memory. 

I find immense joy in capturing life's fleeting moments, freezing them in time, and creating tangible memories that can be cherished forever. 

The absence of monetization pressures (meaning I don't sell my prints) allows me to focus solely on my artistic expression, experimenting with light, angles, and composition without any constraints or boundaries. Whenever I venture out with my camera, I explore the world through my unique artistic lens. 

Photography, in essence, has become an invaluable part of my life, contributing not just to my artistic development but also to my personal growth. This journey into the transformative world of photography has helped me appreciate the beauty in the ordinary and find joy in the mundane.

Mental Bucket: Challenging Hobbies For Growth

Let's not forget the importance of nurturing our mental well-being. Alongside physical fitness, engaging in activities that challenge us intellectually, stimulating our minds, and promoting cognitive growth are crucial.

One way to do this is by solving puzzles, which sharpen our problem-solving skills and provide a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, learning a new language can open up new opportunities for communication and understanding different cultures. Delving into philosophy allows us to explore profound questions about life and existence, expanding our perspectives.

Incorporating these intellectually stimulating hobbies into our lives can enhance our mental agility and foster continuous learning.

Travel + Language Learning: I literally have a website dedicated to the topic

What began as a personal food blog became a platform chronicling my adventures. Alongside the travels came a new hurdle: mastering a foreign language before embarking on each journey. Learning a language is not just about memorizing phrases; it's an immersive experience involving cultural exchange and understanding.

Through my travels, I learned to appreciate the nuances of different languages and cultures, immersing myself in local customs and traditions. These trips challenged me to step out of my comfort zone, exposing me to new experiences and perspectives and ultimately contributing to my personal growth.

Programming languages count, too!

Code Monkey Adventures: Breaking, Building, Bugs, Caffeine, Repeat

Venturing into the world of code was an enlightening journey that sparked curiosity, instilled perseverance, and fostered a continuous learning mindset since 1996. It gave me the tools to be a badass QA tester, which is why I'm Team Systems and Documentation.

Code was the cornerstone that laid the foundation for this website, my travel and language learning blog, and projects in progress that shall not be named. My problem-solving and creativity have given me more than just the ability to build websites. It has gifted me a playground to innovate, experiment, and occasionally break things!

Like the time I accidentally deleted an entire database and bricked a site. Yes, you heard that right. It was a nerve-racking moment, a daunting challenge that seemed insurmountable. However, it was also an invaluable lesson in problem-solving and resilience. I had to sift through the wreckage (which was totally my fault and a “never doing that shit again” moment), understand what went wrong, and figure out how to restore the site.

And guess what? I did! It took considerable grit, research, countless cups of coffee, and innumerable “eureka” moments, but I managed to bring the site back from the ashes.

This led me to app development. I've successfully put two apps in the App Store, each a testament to the countless hours spent refining my skills and understanding the intricacies of user experience design. 

Coding has become an intellectual stimulant, constantly challenging me and keeping my mind sharp. It's a dynamic field that never ceases to thrill; there's always a new language to learn, a new problem to solve, and a novel way to break and build things. It's a never-ending growth journey, and there's never a dull day.

The Importance Of Filling Different Life Buckets

How To Reclaim Your Identity Beyond Work/Your Business

Identify Your Passion and Interests

Becoming a better version of yourself starts with identifying your passions and interests. Beyond the confines of your work, what activities or pursuits ignite a spark within you? What are you naturally drawn to? This could be anything from painting to mountain biking, community service, or playing an instrument. Recognizing your passions provides a blueprint for the activities or hobbies you could incorporate into your routine to fill the different buckets of your life.

Make Time for Activities That Fill Each Bucket

Once you've identified your interests, the next step is deliberately reserving time for activities that fill each bucket. This might involve setting aside time each day for exercise, scheduling regular meet-ups with friends, indulging in your favorite artistic pursuits, engaging in a challenging hobby, and ensuring you make time for self-care. Remember, it's not about achieving perfect balance — it's about ensuring that no single aspect of your life overshadows the others. 

Embrace Imperfection and Flexibility in Balance

Becoming a better version of yourself also requires embracing imperfection. Life is unpredictable, and maintaining a strict balance may not always be feasible. Sometimes, work demands more of you, or personal issues require your undivided attention. During these times, it's essential to remain flexible and understand that balance is not a static state but a dynamic process that fluctuates over time. It's about making adjustments as necessary and not being too hard on yourself when things don't go exactly as planned.

The Journey of Self-Discovery and Growth Never Ends

Lastly, understand that the journey of self-discovery and growth never ends. Becoming a better version of yourself is not a destination but a continuous journey. As you grow and evolve, your interests may change, new passions may emerge, and how you fill your life buckets might shift over time. It's a lifelong process of exploration, learning, and enrichment. So, keep an open mind, stay curious, and relish the journey towards becoming the best version of yourself.


Don't lose yourself chasing success or putting all your energy into a place that would be quick to fire you to cut costs. It's easy to get caught up in pursuing success and lose sight of who we are beyond our work or business. Given the recent layoffs in tech, it's a sobering reminder that no job is guaranteed, and our work titles do not define us.

That's why it's crucial to fill other buckets in our lives and to indulge in activities that bring us joy and fulfillment beyond the confines of our careers. Embracing diverse interests and passions makes us well-rounded individuals with enriched lives, enhancing our overall happiness and well-being.

There will always be plenty to do, but our time is limited and precious. It's crucial to make time for ourselves, indulge in our passions, and nurture our personal growth. After all, our work or business should be a part of our lives, not the sole defining factor.

Wake up to sunset.

Buy the tickets.

Take the trip.

Learn the language.

Turn your phone off.

Close your laptop.

Reclaim your time.



ELIZABETH ALARCON - PINTEREST - Reclaiming Identity Beyond Work The Better Version of Yourself Is Waiting For You To Close Your Laptop

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