Can you have it all…?

Firstly, my sincere apologies for my French leave. I hope mojo is back and I will keep up to date. Life happened to me. In the last few months since I have written here, I started a new job and then got married. heart It’s been a few exciting months finding and creating some semblance of balance but I am enjoying it.

Now to what I want to write about today, a difficult subject for many people especially young women: Love (Relationships/Marriage) or Career or Both? If both, which first? I have been asked questions many a time by different people and it is always difficult to say, so I choose to share my personal experience in the hope that it perhaps might offer some insights.

Like I have said several times, relationships/marriage is always a challenging topic for me to write about and these are some of the reasons why: I have only been married for less than a year (just a fresher- lol) and also experiences differ so widely it is difficult to even attempt to suggest a one-size-fits-all opinion or thought.

The important disclaimer though before I proceed: I strongly believe that whatever choice a woman makes, either to be just a homemaker, a career focussed person only or to combine both so far as she is under no pressure (that is another blogpost in itself) and has all the options/opportunities available to her to make this choice, it should be allowed and supported. 
I can speak best to the choice of combining both because that is my personal experience.

Many years ago (lol) when I was in my mid-twenties, while studying for a Masters degree in Ghana I met and got into a relationship with this gentleman. Barely a year after this, I gained admission to continue with graduate school in the UK. This was one of the exciting moments of my life because pursuing a PhD was one of the lifelong dreams. (Anyone who knows me well enough, knows I love research!) Unfortunately, that was also the start of our woes in the relationship. He suggested we formalize the relationship or/and get married before I left. I honestly wasn’t ready to get married for many reasons; one of which was my belief that we had not known each other long enough.

I had been single for a several years before I met him and had dealt with a very bad relationship and so was also a bit hesitant to let the relationship go. There was the usual (self-imposed) pressure of keeping this especially as most of my friends were in relationships, planning weddings etc… It was a very confusing period in my life but it helped immensely when he gave an “ultimatum” :we marry or we break off the relationship and I travel for further studies. I realized having both was no longer an option. (He had had a bad experience with an ex who travelled and the relationship died). I talked to a few people and there was advice from both ends: Go for school.. Get married, at the end of the day your career won’t keep you warm (lol, this actually came from one of my professors). Luckily I had the support of my family especially my mum who reminded me if I did not take the opportunity I would later regret it and resent the man- it was harsh but honest).

I went off to the UK, nursed my broken heart for a while and went on with my life and studies. The aftermath of the breakup was nothing short of dramatic but that is story for another day! Hehehe.
Long story short, I had an absolute blast pursuing my PhD, pursued my passions and interests, saw as many places as I possibly could and made wonderful friends (including love interests). Those were some of the best years of my life. I finished my PhD just in time, graduated and in 2 months short of my graduation anniversary I got married to the love of my life, and currently do research which I absolutely love. I have no regrets for the turn things took: I love my job/career and my husband fiercely and I intend to find the ultimate balance and make them both work perfectly, God is our helper.
There is a lot to be said though about a partner who understands, appreciates and supports your career goals and interests. A few weeks ago I was contemplating taking a day off work to rest and was jokingly telling my husband how I think I could be a good housewife and probably enjoy it (if he would just win the lottery -lol) He dismissed my quip with a laugh and said I should quit dreaming and go off to work (*Shattered dreams- i am going to take my chances with the lottery myself hehehehe)!

 

So can you have it all/both?

  • At some point every person would be faced with a ‘difficult’ choice.
  • It could be a decision for the short haul or a long term one.
  • Each choice comes with a benefit, each comes with a cost.
  • Life is all about choices but it is also about balance.
  • Pray
  • Ask for advice from as many people you trust and carefully weigh your options.
  • In the end take a decision that comes from you and not societal expectations.
  • Do that which brings you peace and one you also enjoy.
  • Trust your instincts, go on your journey and make sure you have fun while learning as much as possible.

One day someone may need your opinion or perspective on a similar journey! And so I agree with Oprah Winfrey when she says: “You can have it all, (maybe) just not all at once”

 

~Just also thought to throw in my favorite and inspiring Humans of New York story here.

 

At my graduation in July 2015
At my graduation in July 2015

 

Our wedding in May 2016
Our wedding in May 2016

 

The partner who cheers you on!!
The partner who cheers you on!!

 

PS: This is my story told from my very biased angle. It may not apply to everyone and that is perfectly fine.  😉

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32 Comments

  1. Maame Araba
    October 28 2016

    Thank you very much. Really learnt alot

    *Life is all about choices but it is also about balance.

  2. Simon Aikins
    October 28 2016

    Good work done, littered with a lot lessons. I wish you a blissful marriage and career.

    • December 13 2016

      Thank you Simon and for reading too 🙂

  3. Nhyira
    October 28 2016

    “In the end take a decision that comes from you and not societal expectations.” Merçi

    But am curious.
    You went off to the UK to nurse your broken heart. Meaning the ultimatum took effect. How did KOA come in though.

    • December 13 2016

      I met him some years after I settled in the UK 🙂

  4. Baaba Woode
    October 28 2016

    Beautiful well written piece. Waiting to read more from you AMA. Bless you for sharing. Abundant strength from God as you pursue both❤️

  5. Esther
    October 28 2016

    You are someone I admire from afar . God bless you for sharing your experience with us.

  6. Aphya
    October 28 2016

    Wow, stories like these give me strength…

    • December 13 2016

      Thank you, Such comments also inspire and humble me. I pray you have all the strength you need. Lots of love.

  7. kweku
    October 28 2016

    So did you get married to the man you broke up with before going to graduate school?

  8. Kwabena Kwakye
    October 28 2016

    Very beautiful piece, Ama. I firmly believe it works best when you enter marriage with some level of personal development. No matter how beautiful and true a marriage is, there will be times it will come down to drawing energy from your own self-worth.

    • December 13 2016

      Exactly! Hopefully we can reach as many people with the message 🙂

  9. Lene
    October 28 2016

    Thank you. You actually inspired me. Now I know my dream of having both is possible

  10. Afua Sagoe
    October 28 2016

    As I sit here in this library, as an architect turned international urban planner, trying to finish my masters with a course work for a retail planning proposal assessment, and then so bored of reading about retail stuff so I turned on my Facebook and I see this blog entry. Girlllll….. you are on point. Life happened to me too. Girlllll….. I’ve a husband, 2 beautiful kids I will die for and trying to pursue my career. Its hard! I agree with Oprah too, you can have it all, but not at the same time. I’ve learnt the hard way to wait, wait to be a mother, wait to kick start my career. I’ve cried, I’ve been broken, but,…. I’ve always had my faith in God, and I’ve found that yes He will NEVER leave me of forsake me….. I’m also blessed with the most lovely husband with a beautiful gentle heart and one who won’t let me settle for less, even when I want to. So Girlllll. …… you are on point…. God bless you and your marriage and keep writing. xxx

    • December 13 2016

      Awesome! All the best with everything, praying with you and cheering you on 1000 miles away!

  11. Claudia Nyarko Mensah
    October 28 2016

    Beautiful piece Ama, this is very inspiring. I remember making a comment so time back on how I’m inspired by you. Yeah, just this is how I’m inspired by you. When you are soo much under pressure on the decisions to take about life’s salient issues, fear grips you when you appear soo much to be deferring from the ”norm”. It’s always appropriate to be bold and firm on life’s decisions delicate decisions. You never know, Elohim might be ordering the crooked paths into a perfect moment which could be ”awwwed” by people. Yes you inspire me!

    • December 13 2016

      When God is your boat, you can rest assured, he will surely guide you and see you through 🙂

  12. Akosua
    October 28 2016

    Thanks for sharing.This is really great advise.God bless you.

  13. Stella Abebreser
    October 28 2016

    Great write-up. It is definately possible to have it all, maybe not all at once. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Akosua T.
    October 28 2016

    I totally enjoyed this, making decisions about life changing events scare me all the time. Thanks for letting me know, it’s possible to have both. You’re good with this.

    Medaase

  15. Affi
    October 29 2016

    You write so beautifully… nearly as beautiful as you are… You are very beautiful
    The question of can you have it all have been answered by myself in many ways on many platforms. I have come to the conclusion that ‘all is relative’ . My all may be to be a single lay preacher, a wife,mother and the CEO all together, a mother wife and researcher. yet in the all that is normally the context of this question, having it all is a progressively beautiful difficult sometimes terrible journey full of drama and most importantly momentary decisions of lifelong implications.
    What is not added to the all most times is happiness – wife, mother, CEO, happy/fulfilled human being. The struggle is real hence I emphasis your recommendation of PRAY and I add that all decisions in this journey have lifelong implications that culminate into happiness and fulfillment while pleasing God.

    • December 13 2016

      I agree, ultimately being happy with the decisions and choices you make can actually be all that there is to ‘having it all’

  16. Angela Asamoah
    October 30 2016

    Great piece. I bliv u can have it all. No matter what comes first. A supportive spouse plays an important role. Being patient and trusting God to make the best out of every situation.

    • December 13 2016

      Indeed, God and support you can count are very necessary!

Comments are closed.