500 Words | Writing Prompt
No conflict = no story. What conflicts have you survived, what conflicts are you gearing up for? Or what are you battling as we speak?
How will these conflicts lend meaning to your story?
Work-life balance. Or perhaps more appropriately, work-family balance. This is the biggest struggle in my life and I suspect that I am not alone.
When I was young I dreamed of a professional career as a business executive leading a company or a public speaker changing people’s views of the world. Everything I did set me up to succeed in the corporate ladder where I could lead an organization. It wasn’t until I discovered I was pregnant on a business trip halfway around the world from my husband that I realized that this wasn’t the life I wanted.
They say that women don’t think straight during pregnancy because a lot of the resources that fuel the brain are going towards growing the child. Well the first decision I made when I was pregnant was to shake things up and change my life. The seed was actually planted before the pregnancy when I read the 4-Hour Work Week. At the time I was becoming bored of climbing the corporate ladder and I was tired of working 40 hours a week. Sometimes there wasn’t enough work to do for 40 hours but I was required to serve my time.
When I realized that I was suddenly going to be responsible for the development of another human being my perspective on life changed. I didn’t want to be stuck traveling across the world while my little one waited for me at home. I wanted to experience every moment of his growth. I didn’t want to miss a moment. I also began to evaluate the time value of money (not the investing kind, the life kind). How much could someone pay me to miss out on my child’s first steps or first words? How much could someone pay me to outsource the raising of my child to some nanny? The answer was simple. There wasn’t enough money in the world to convince me that it was a good idea to miss out on my son’s youth.
I gave up my professional engineering career of climbing the corporate ladder to move back to my hometown where I would have the support of my family and my husband’s family business. This was the toughest decision ever. How do you throw away everything you ever worked for and not feel some amount of regret? It really makes you wonder why you invested all of those sleepless nights in studying and cramming for exams.
Now that my son is in preschool I wonder if I made the right decision. I wonder if I should go back to the corporate world where I have been conditioned to succeed. But every time I entertain the idea I recognize that there are other less conventional career paths that could set me up for a more family-centered lifestyle. A lifestyle that isn’t dictated by the 40 hour work week. A lifestyle that allows me to sleep in or take off to visit with friends that just so happen to be in town. Ultimately, this is my goal, to cultivate a life that is centered around my family, my friends, and my self.