The choice between having a career or making time for love is an extremely personal and individual decision. There are many factors which can affect your choice, and there are many people who have discovered how to achieve a healthy work life balance that allows them to have both.
Careers and love fulfill us in different but important ways. Having a solid career gives us a sense of accomplishment and self worth, aside from the practicalities of paying the bills. Many people develop their entire identity based upon what they do, elevating their career to a level of great importance in their lives.
Then there are those who measure their success in terms of having a pleasant and rewarding home life. They develop their identities based upon the accomplishments of their children, and derive their self worth through the love and support of a spouse.
So what happens if you cannot or do not wish to make room in your life for both? While the happiest and healthiest people have managed to develop a work life balance that allows for both, it may not be for everyone. Consider these factors when pondering which is more important for you.
1. Your Career May be More Important When You are Young
Many people these days focus on careers first and family later. The reasoning is that, while you are young and unencumbered, you have the time and energy to fully devote yourself to a career. If you have lofty career ambitions while you are young, it may indeed be the time to start making progress towards those goals.
Once you get married and begin to build a family, much of your time and energy – by necessity – becomes devoted to your family. This is as it should be. You should not start a family unless you are willing to devote time and attention to your loved ones.
Many people who accomplish great success in their careers when they are young, and establish themselves in a secure position, are then more willing and comfortable later on to devote themselves to family. By the time they do settle down, they are more prepared to handle the responsibility.
2. Falling in Love can be Better When You are Older
More and more people these days are choosing to wait when it comes to making decisions about family. It is not unusual for people to delay marriage until their late 30’s or even their early 40’s. Delaying family decisions allows you to be better prepared for those obligations, and creates a better likelihood that you are in touch with your most important goals and values. You have had the opportunity to completely grow up, greatly reducing the chances of feeling like you are “missing out.” You have had the chance to purge the foolishness of youth from your system and are now confident with the wisdom of maturity.
3. Choosing Both
If you can find a work life balance that allows you to experience the joys of love and maintain a successful career, you will have a truly happy and rewarding life. A loving family at home can help you celebrate all of your successes, and bolster your confidence through your failures. There are many people out there reaping the tremendous rewards that come with including love and work in their lives, and finding the balance that allows for both.
A life that only has room for a career, or that includes a consuming love that stifles your personal development, is likely not a lifestyle that is healthy or fulfilling. Our personal needs and feelings of self worth need to be met, which is normally gained from having a good career. Our hearts and souls need to be nourished, and we need companionship to support us through life, which normally are derived from loving relationships.
The truly healthy and well balanced person will recognize the benefits of having both. He or she will take steps to achieve the work life balance necessary to assure the continuation of career growth while nurturing and maintaining the health of personal relationships. It is only when we can maintain this delicate balance that we are living life to its greatest potential.
Image by Dirty Feet.