Balancing Your Love Life with the Life You Love
I dunno about you, but this whole balance thing is #werk. The struggle. Is. Real. I'd wager you feel the same way.
Let's say you're reading this because you're a smart, driven, mindful woman pursuing her passions, finding her purpose, rocking the crap out of her career, and making her way. Let's say you're someone who is interested in doing the same in her dating and love life.
So what you're saying is, you're kind of a big deal. A gorgeous big deal who understands her contribution to this life/world and is striving to make it, help others, be successful (however you define that for yourself, because you don't live relatively and comparatively, duh), and enjoy the joys of the journey. Oh, and to fall in love along the way. Madly, wholly, healthily, soulfully in love. Of course.
And you want said love of your life to support you in pursuing your goals, and to allow you to do the same for him. Have a rich family life. Be a part of your community. Have a wildly entertaining social life. You know, change the world, cure cancer, run a country. Minor stuff.
Simply put, you want it all.
Girl, who doesn't?
And this is where the balancing act comes in to play.
You see, when I like someone, when I'm passionate about something, I'm all in. It's, like, intense.
But it's hard to be 100% all in for everything all the time. No matter how many Kombucha beverages you consume and downward dogs you master, you're going to hit burnout.
Plus, there's that whole sticky guilt feeling that creeps up when you're going HAM at the office or on a project and you keep missing important family obligations, social engagements or dates (tsk, tsk). In fact, gunning for your goals can be a huge deterrent in getting your dating and love life off the ground. (Tip: Start making love goals for yourself. They shouldn't—repeat: SHOULD NOT—involve strict timelines like "married by 30, 4 kids by 32," but should serve to help you get focused on you and what you need to work towards in order to attract in a solid suitor.)
Goal diggers need love too. Not only to receive it, but to give it.
I think the most real and honest and truthful statement I've heard about this very conundrum came from a one Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, arguably some of television's most successful shows in recent history. This is what she told this year's graduating class at her alma mater, Dartmouth:
"Shonda, how do you do it all?
The answer is this: I don’t.
Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life.
If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and story time at home. If I am at home sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes, I’m probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in. If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby’s first swim lesson. If I am at my daughter’s debut in her school musical, I am missing Sandra Oh’s last scene ever being filmed at Grey’s Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the tradeoff. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother. You never feel a hundred percent OK; you never get your sea legs; you are always a little nauseous. Something is always lost.
Something is always missing.
And yet. I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them. I like how proud they are when they come to my offices and know that they come to Shondaland. There is a land and it is named after their mother. In their world, mothers run companies. In their world, mothers own Thursday nights. In their world, mothers work. And I am a better mother for it. The woman I am because I get to run Shondaland, because I get write all day, because I get to spend my days making things up, that woman is a better person—and a better mother. Because that woman is happy. That woman is fulfilled. That woman is whole. I wouldn’t want them to know the me who didn’t get to do this all day long. I wouldn’t want them to know the me who wasn’t doing."
Balance leads to fulfillment. Satisfaction. Dare I say, happiness.
Don't forsake your goal digging for the perceived "success" of a relationship. If he can't get down with your sexy ambition, he is not The One, love. And don't forsake your desire for a happy, healthy love life for a relentless and unyielding career. The answer lies in the teeter-tottering of the two.