I consider myself to be very lucky. I am healthy, educated, and in love. I live in the greatest city in the world with my soul mate. There is nothing that we could not overcome together. After 3.5 years of dating, we finally decided to move in together when I was presented with an opportunity to work on a Los Angeles based project.
My excitement to live in my newly leased apartment with Alex was the only thing that made me think twice about accepting the opportunity the second it was presented to me. After discussing the pros and cons of the travel schedule, we decided that the opportunity was too valuable to refuse. While it would be difficult to manage the work / life balance with me living in Santa Monica and him in New York, the work was perfectly aligned with my interests and goals. Besides, Alex and I were used to the Monday through Thursday travel schedule. We were not necessarily fans of it, but we made it work. So, we agreed that I would accept the role and start traveling cross-country the following month.
The first month of bi-coastal living was easy. I was so tired from the long hours required to catch up on the vision shared by the core team and the weekly 12 hours that I spent on the plane, I did not even realize the attention that I used to spend on Alex, family, and friends was redirected towards work. I, a naturally focus and driven individual, became obsessed with my work. Alex, who has always been the most supportive of my dreams and ambitions, would jokingly tell family and friends that I loved my job more than him. While this statement was entirely false, it did reveal that I wanted to focus on my own personal growth and development before my relationship’s at this point in my life.
As I continued to travel, I began to feel a bit lonely without my partner in crime around me every day to bounce around ideas and offer an additional perspective on daily life. I saw no feasible solution, as I would greatly regret giving up either. What it boiled down to was that I had to make both work - the love of my life and my dream job. I concluded professional and personal happiness are not mutually exclusive. This is no easy feat to execute with the middle of the country separating me from my career aspirations and my loved ones. As time went on and the passion for my work grew, I realized that in order to achieve peace and happiness in my life, I would have to understand how I could overcome this obstacle and learn from this experience in my life.
The work aspect was easier than the personal. I was so interested and engaged in my work that I never thought twice about staying late or lending a helping hand. My personal life, on the other hand, appeared to be unraveling at the seams. I was never home. I spent 4 nights in Santa Monica and 1 night on an airplane every week. Alex and I both felt as if we were living by ourselves - he in our NYC apartment and I in a different hotel room every week – during a time that we expected to live together. I had to discuss my dilemma with my team. Luckily, my team was extremely supportive about reducing my monthly travel schedule to allow me to work remotely 2 Fridays of every month. As for the other 2 Fridays, we designated those as travel weekends when Alex would travel to meet me on the West coast.
I realize now in hindsight that my alone time, spent learning more about my passions and interests, informed me about myself. I now have a better understanding of what I want to be doing and the people I want to have in my life. The ironic thing was that I had to do it alone, a state that would be hard to sustain living with Alex. This realization put me at ease and made me thankful for the opportunity to have this moment of personal, intellectual, and professional understanding and growth while continuing to fall deeper in love with Alex every day. These feelings are real life evidence of the cliché 'distance makes the heart grow fonder'. The middle of America all of a sudden transformed from an obstacle between my love and my career to a blessing that left me with a greater understanding of myself.
INTENTION: Sometimes life presents you opportunities that you cannot resist. You should take it: don’t think twice about the associated challenges. No challenge is overcome without a meaningful lesson revealed.