As we grow up, we have our hobbies, interests, and inclinations. There are certain things we find interesting. When we involve ourselves in those things, time seems to pass by faster. We forget the ticking and movement of time because we are so involved with the task at hand.
The freedom that we had as kids, to involve our free time in the things that interest us, is slowly plucked away by the system that raises us. As we grow up, we lose touch with the things that we are naturally inclined towards. The natural force is the things that we are attracted to. The counter force is the world around us.
For most people, the counter-force is more powerful and we succumb to it. The force comes from our parents, relatives, friends and sometimes our school teachers. They tell us: "This is what you should do to earn a living".
Many of us end up choosing a vocation that we are not naturally inclined toward and then we start dragging ourselves, years into it.
When you work on things that you are not naturally inclined towards, because that is what the world expected you to do, and thought was right for you, work and fun become two separate things.
You "grind" at work, even if you do not like it, so that you can make enough money, and buy some "fun" with that money.
Most people, unfortunately, lead double lives. Their first life, a job or a line of work that they have to do, pays for the second life where they can enjoy life and have a good time.
There are very few people who have managed to make their first life fun. To have such a life, there is a price to pay. You have to go against the people around you (society) and be the odd man out. If you are not going to fit in, there is no point trying to squeeze yourself in because that would be short-lived.
Everyone around you will say what's best for you, but only you can know what is best for you. You need to have a conviction in yourself and your line of work.
Sometimes, it will look like you made the wrong choices. Results won't come immediately and self-doubt can set in. The world around us will be waiting to tell us "I told you so".
But if you have enough passion in you for the line of work that you have chosen, and if you have enough conviction, the work itself is the reward. If you are losing track of time doing your work, you don't need to expect any immediate returns from the work to make that time worth it. The work, well done, will be enough in itself.
More often than not, people who already have problems fitting in at school, college, and the world in general, are more likely to choose a career of their choice, because they are being "trained" to be non-conformists.
The world made them non-conformists by "keeping them out" for trivial reasons. And the world is shocked when they stop trying to fit in and build something for themselves.
One of the reasons why we can find several people from the queer community to be extremely talented in their line of work is because they have been "outcasts" since school days. And they stopped giving a f*ck to what people think and expect of them decades back even before normal people start thinking along those lines.
People with physical disabilities, very short or very tall people, and people with eccentric character traits, all of them get "freed" from the expectations of the world around them at an early age. They "opt-out" of trying to live up to expectations.
Not fitting in helps them pursue the interests of their choice. What will they do getting A grades and being the "cool kid" in the class anyway? They have already stopped playing the game.
Years of investment into a single subject, without having to see immediate returns, without getting bored or having to "push yourself" is the path that leads to mastery and insane levels of power.
Normal people, if there is such a thing, get coerced into standard expectations by the world around them. People who fit in more than other people generally have to wait until their mid-life crisis to understand that there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Following the rules and expectations of the society made them a cog in the system which benefitted the system but not themselves.
That's when external markers of success become so very important. People try to "catch up with the joneses". A car, a house, a family, and the image of being a successful person in the world, as defined by the world, becomes the only hope to try to squeeze some meaning out of life.
Find your vocation, and you will never need to worry about work-life balance again. Because your work is your life and your life is your life's work.
Get lost in your work, and you will be free forever.