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