About three weeks ago, I made what will probably be one of the most difficult decisions of my adult life.
At the end of March, I was conditionally offered my dream job. As in, if I aspired to become a professional soccer player, I had been recruited by Manchester United – although, admittedly, I was redshirted for a couple of years until I proved myself worthy of a field position. But after the initial joy and excitement, a dirty detail found its way to the surface of the offer with no clear scapegoat or person to take the blame for it.
I was told in the most inexplicitly, explicit manner that all signs pointed towards me not getting the job if I continued to date my boyfriend. Aka, at 23 years old, I was being asked to make a decision that most everybody uses in a hypothetical sense… IF you had to, would you choose your job or your family? Sure, he’s not my family yet, but I, one measly year after graduating college, was being asked to make this decision.
Please check a box:
Box 1) Career.
Box 2) Love.
…I checked box 2.
Actually, that’s a lie. I checked box 1. I exchanged keys with this man and gave up on the idea of living with him starting this Summer. I was devastated. And when I called him over the course of the time that we were broken up, he was devastated too. Out of necessity, I forced myself not to think about it, because the decision that I had made was too painful.
So I searched for the answer. I reached out to Annie. I reached out to my other best friend of over ten years. I called my stepmom. I called my dad. I called my old coworker and friend. And you know what? Not a single one had THE answer for me.
A night passed and the next day, I sat in my living room and, desperate, I looked into my heart. For three weeks I had been attempting to make this decision, which, in my mind, never should have had to have been made. At work, I was a zombie in meetings, getting by only on routine. At home, nothing was getting done. Not laundry or working out. Not cooking or grocery shopping. I was coasting and I was avoiding this wretched decision. But the clock was constantly ticking, and I had a limited time to make this choice. And as soon as I was honest with myself, I knew what I had to do.
I logged onto my e-mail and I retracted my acceptance from the position. I called the man that I love and told him not to leave his house… I was coming over to hold him and to have him hold me.
During this time, this man, my boyfriend, had been making a decision of his own. An issue that he had been facing for years had reached its zenith and he was forced to do some soul searching as well. He spoke with his most trusted confidant – his father – regarding the situations that we were both facing and his father told him this.
The decisions that you make throughout your life are nothing more than a series of sacrifices.
In other words, at each fork in the road, you reevaluate what is important to you and you move forward in the direction of the things that you are absolutely not willing to give up. It’s poetic to me; life constantly offering you decisions so that you can better find yourself. Then, at the end, imagine what you are left with. You’re left with the things and relationships that you cherish the most in this world.
Looking at life in this way makes me view it as a journey. As I live and grow, I will filter out the elements of my life that no longer suit me or my family, leaving, at life’s end, the purest sources of happiness in our lives.