Twenty years after they left college, Sunita and Priya met at a common friend's daughter's wedding in Mumbai. Priya, an ever-ambitious one, had joined a course in a university in the USA and then settled there for a promising corporate career. Sunita, on the other hand, had decided to go in teaching, in a local college in a small town. Very good friends during college time, they had tried to keep in touch initially by writing emails, but as life made them busy and demanded their time and attention to more pressing issues, their connection was almost lost. Both were nostalgically happy to meet again and tried to spend maximum time together, leaving their families to enjoy the grand ceremonies of the fat Indian wedding. 'I have achieved quite a success in my career, but am suffering in health. Corporate competition and stress are killing me.' Priya confided in Sunita who heard patiently, with a professorly look on her face.
Then, with a deep breath, she responded, 'I have a less demanding job, more time for myself and family, a kind of good work-life balance. But you know, sometimes I feel I am left behind in the race of success. What am I doing in this small town? Reading out from the same textbooks year and year again, to mediocre level students who are hardly interested in anything else than mobile.'
The conversation went on, touching different aspects of their lives. Both had been very close during college days, so they could speak out their mind, express those hidden fears and feelings that they could not do with others. Sunita and Priya will go back to their routine lives after the wedding is over, and will perhaps maintain regular contacts henceforth. But the point of discussion is really important for every one of us.
There is always a competition between ambition and contentment in our lives. Those who choose a more relaxed type of life, somewhere feel uncontended in terms of success in career. They lament not achieving high corporate or government positions. On the other hand, those who have chosen to make the best in their career, happen to invariably complain about having no personal time, losing peace of mind and having difficulty in maintaining a good work-life balance. This happens with most of us. A fine balance between career and leisure is difficult to achieve and maintain.
The better you get in your career, the busier you get in life. If you decide to select a more peaceful life, cutthroat competition in occupation leaves you behind. There is always a possibility of regrets in one field when you prefer to prioritise the other. But that is the nature of life, that is the human psychology: difficult to remain contented with what we have. The remorse of not having something always keeps pinching us.
Is it possible to maintain a fine balance between career and personal life? Is it possible to be contented with what you have in terms of health and mental peace without regretting what you don't have in terms of status? Life is a fine balance of competing demands and challenges. We need to draw a line and then be contended with it. If you want to be really happy with what you have chosen, judge yourself with your own criteria, not of others. People will judge you with their parameters, reject that intrusion immediately. Tell them - it's not their concern before they drop in a thought that will raise doubts in your mind about the choices you have made.