Friday, November 20, 2009

On Passion, Ambition and Relationships

After my meeting with my supervisor the other day, I was ruminating on our conversation and trying to think of a rational thesis schedule that I could actually stick to and then I thought about our conversation over jobs…and I realized something.

I’m in a relationship.


Suddenly it is not so easy to just pack up and go. Yes, despite my family and friendship ties, I have never felt that I could not just pick up and go at moments notice. Hell, I’m afraid to get a mobile contract for a year because they are impossible to get out of if I got a job elsewhere. But somehow this time, things could be different…and yet…I don’t think I could ever limit myself.

My dream for years has been to work overseas. I realized how hard it would be to get into the foreign service and had more or less given up on that dream. But doing the internship and job in Geneva opened up new possibilities. I could work overseas and earn a decent salary! When I returned and told my supervisor of my direction in terms of where I wanted to go with my career. He replied that, that was great that I was willing to move for the right job. That many people were tied down with spouses, mortgages, children…that my lack of ties allowed me greater freedom to do more with my career and perhaps advance further.


This was over half a year ago, hell almost a year ago now. Suddenly I am in a relationship and I do have to consider my career and him.

Right, well it is a new relationship. It’s not like I’m married or have been together for how many years. I told him straight out when I was mulling over this, that I could not see myself giving up a career opportunity when I have spent so many years working towards it. He said while he could understand but at least I could tell him when I was applying for those sorts of jobs and we would have the discussion then. Right now the relationship is still quite new and the situation hypothetical.

The thing is I cannot see myself doing a long distance relationship. Nor can I see him doing one at this point in his life. He had one for years with a Spanish woman he met in Japan. At thirty I do not think he would want to do it again and honestly, I would not want to put him through it. As most contracts now a days with most international organizations are about two years, I really think that would be too long.

Yes, this is all rather hypothetical but still I have to keep this in mind. Again, I have just worked too many years to suddenly give up my dreams of working overseas again. I care for him and I feel that this relationship could potentially go somewhere but, if I gave up a career opportunity, something I had worked towards for years before I met him, would I not regret it?

I am reminded of this blog entry I found awhile ago.

At the time, I could not imagine so calmly breaking up and having a break up party, because each person chose to pursue their professional ambitions. All I could think was, did you ever really feel any sort of passion about this person? I do have to take his age into consideration, twenty-four. While at our age you certainly do not expect to end up with every person you date but still, I am not remotely romantic, in fact I would say the boy is more into that sort of thing then me, and even then I thought that was a bit…cold? I mean I agree with the article but not that tiny sentimental part of me. The following from the blog entry I agree with entirely.

“Different paths: sometimes two people who have a wonderful relationship feel that their lives are headed in different directions, and that by being in the relationship they are both being held back and holding the other person back. In this instance, it may make more sense for you to break up rather than keeping each other from doing what you want to do.”

At only twenty-four, you never want to regret that you did not do something. At twenty-four I had just ummm started grad school after living overseas for a year and a half. He had never even left the country till he embarked on his current adventures. The boy at that age had already lived in Japan. Cannot remember at what age he did his masters in Sweden…and that same year, at twenty-four, I would go and do a three month internship I Geneva, which would turn into nine months. But both the boy and I had that freedom to do those things. (minus the fact that he did start a relationship with the ex around the time he went to Sweden but they were fairly flexible)

In my entry earlier this year, I posted about this and about having passion.

I would say that the boy has a passion for what he does. His current passion, his company, keeps him here, with no possibilities of leaving at least for the next couple of years while he nurtures it. Judging by the amount of hours he puts into it, I know this is what he wants to do right now. His passion. I could never deny him that and don’t mind all the extra hours he puts into it. I in fact admire it.

Like me, he does not want to spend the rest of his life here and probably would not mind moving to another Canadian city or overseas, depending on jobs for him but not right now. While I could see myself moving away within the next year as soon as my thesis was finished.

I spoke of two my friends who did go off overseas and were both able to successfully maintain a relationship with someone back here and still able to follow their passion. One is married and the other is still with her boyfriend of how many years. Considering that my sister, the one who chose not to go overseas because of her boyfriend, is now the one who is currently single, I really think that says a lot about following your dreams and your passions, even when in a relationship.

It’s a lot to think about, especially when so early in a relationship but I realized that it is something that had to be addressed.

We have a lot of in common, a love of travel, a love of living overseas, we have both been with partners overseas, we both want to move away eventually, hell we would even want to live in the same area of the city. We both don’t watch a lot of t.v but like similar shows (flight of the conchords/arrested development/british t.v shows/the office) and similar books and in some respects a similar taste in music. Also, as shown by our Halloween Costumes this year a love of old films (he loved Arsenic and Old Lace) and obscure 1960’s t.v shows. (re Get Smart & the Avengers) He loves to cook and I don’t mind chopping things and doing dishes. We both do not drink coffee and like green tea. He likes to play sports and I don’t mind playing soccer and ultimate. (we did after all meet during dodge ball and get to know each other during Ultimate!) We both like going to the gym on a regular basis. We both love wine and want to learn more about it. (we are planning on doing some courses) We love cheese. We love freshly baked bread and fresh veg and olives and going to the Italian market for their deli meats. We love simple homemade pizzas rather then the pizzas they serve at most pizza places. We like going for walks. We agree on many political ideas. We’ve discovered a love of reading advice columns, not only to read about the wacky people out there but to find out what each other’s thoughts on a given situation are. Very enlightening. He has done a Master’s degree, I am currently working on one. His father did a master’s degree in history (despite the fact that he is now a lawyer) and his grandmother actually knows the professor in history who traumatized me in my third year. His undergrad is actually in history. (he switched from business mid way and his masters is actually something computer related)

With all that in common it makes it harder to think rationally on the subject. Especially when in the ‘honeymoon phase.’

Even so, with all of that, with all of that potential…right now I cannot see myself giving up my dreams. Selfish yes. But not anymore then me asking him to give up his own for mine. He is doing what he is passionate about right now and I deserve that same opportunity.

So if and when the time comes, we will have to have a discussion. We’ve already determined that. At thirty I think he would not be prepared to do the long distance thing again for the probably two years and I do get that because at twenty-six I would not be prepared to do it. Maybe half a year or a year max with visits. Maybe. Again, if and when the time comes, we will have to see where our relationship is and where is could go and where we want it to go. No simple answers but for something like this, perhaps, it should not be so simple.


Tricia said...

Seriously? Are we always on the same wave length? My thoughts are currently consumed with how I can convince Brad to enter a degree program that will improve our chances of finding overseas employment. I talk to him almost daily about how I feel like I need to move back to Viet Nam. This time with him. It's ridiculous having these non-traditional dreams about life and trying to make them fit with the traditional things (like relationships, buying a house)you want as well. I'm still attempting to find some semblance of balance.

raspberry swyrl said...

I think we are. Remember our dreams of the foreign service? Well we both didn't exactly get into it but we both found ways to live overseas! It is crazy trying to find a balance between the traditional and non-traditional.Like the odd time I want to buy something expensive and all I can think of is, 'wow for the price of this item or experience I could have spent an entire day or two in chile’

The thing with my boyfriend, is with his company right now there is just no way we can leave, at least for the next couple of years, plus he has student debt…so what do I do? Do I not apply for that job in Europe? Do I not try and save up my money to go to South America once I’ve finished my degree? (as in finish degree, save up money, go travel) arg!!! What’s brad’s thoughts on moving from Winnipeg? Would he want to? Again this is really the first time in a long time where I feel I can’t just pack up and go at a moments notice…like I really feel this could go somewhere…arg!

I actually hold you up as the ideal. The person who able to follow her travel dreams and still keep a long distance relationship going…

But yah, I know what you mean about wanting that person to be with you when you go.

I’m just feeling really antsy right now…and with Christmas coming up...did I mention how nice it was to have a relaxed vacation Christmas last year?

Right that’s it. We need to set a leaving day. Or make a plan. Or something. Or go insane.

Travel club?