07 June 2006

Separate Lives

No, not the Phil Collins song. It’s a theory. I’ve heard about it before, but usually in reference to cheating spouses and criminals.

Former President Bill Clinton stated in a chapter of his book how he lived parallel lives. Two, completely independent, separate lives: his work life and his personal life. My initial reaction was an eye roll and sarcastic “whatever”. It seemed a lame excuse for making a poor choice.

Then I thought about it. I think he’s more normal than one would think. He summed up a way that, I believe, many people live their lives.

Shortly after learning this theory, I read an interview with Caroline Kepcher from Donald Trump’s organization – made famous by The Apprentice. She mentioned that she too keeps her personal and business life purposefully separate.

I found that I do that. I never let my work into my personal life. I keep the two distinctly separate. I’d like to say that my personal life never gets into my work life but it does happen. It’s inevitable, as I am human.

Every once in a while, my lives collide. It’s disconcerting. Although I am the same person, it’s not like split personalities; I am a different person in each world. Whereas I believe my separate lives are more extreme than most cases, I think everyone has their own personal version.

My (former now) work world is a girl world. I have a staff of 16 women and 2 men. It’s a world filled with emotions and free-flowing thoughts, ideas and hormones.

My home world is boy world. It’s just me & the Mad Genius, who is a man’s man. He has a brother and no sisters. Our neighbor is our father-figure, a widower. Our hobbies are also boy activities.

Boy world is a world of black & white, say it like it is. Feelings are clear & well-spoken and there is rarely ambiguity.

Boys can tell one another to f&%# off and they’re fine the next minute. In girl world, the time & date will be noted, to be used for future reference. In boy world if someone is upset, they deal with it directly. This is usually not the case in girl world.

Frankly, I like boy world better when it comes to communication. It’s clear and one never doubts. In girl world, it’s murky and ever shifting. Girl world isn’t as forgiving.
But girl world is usually more caring and compassionate. It has a soft side where boy world has a soft underbelly that one rarely sees.

I just wonder, they say that the world would be a better & different place if women were in charge. Having experienced both worlds, I’m not certain. Each has their pluses & minuses.

So while my separate lives are black & white, I think most are more ambiguous. The business personality & the home personality, the mommy personality and the spouse or child personality.

It’s interesting to consider. What are your separate lives?

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