A few weeks ago, in a mentoring session, I was asked how I find balance between my professional and personal life. After a few clarifying questions, it became clear that the person was trying to understand how you can chase your dreams and remain connected to those you care about.
The answer I gave the person versus my thoughts now have changed — a lot. I have always had goals and dreams, and spent time chasing them. As much as I love being a mom, I was never a person who could be satisfied with just that identity. And so, I have always pushed myself, added challenges to keep life interesting. For me, life is an adventure, and I intend to enjoy every moment of it.
Over the years, I have received a lot of criticism from friends and family. I have been told I am selfish, that I only save crumbs for my family, and worse. While those words hurt, I was able to take a step back and see clearly the feelings behind the words. The one person whose opinion I value the most, my daughter, has never said these things to me. Rather, she has cheered me on, and when needed violently pushed me forward.
Reflecting on this information, I can tell you what I would tell that person now. Wildly chase your dreams. Set goals for yourself. Push yourself. There is always time for the people who truly love you and support your goals. Life is a balancing game, choices must be made. We can either make the choices others want us to make, or we can dare to be the person we are meant to be.
The last year has taught me people enter your life for a season. Rarely do friendships last a lifetime. Family, while they are related to you, do not always have your best interests at heart. Love without respect and support, is not love. At the end of the day, the people invited to your table should be people who support, respect, and cheer you on.
Maintaining connections with people is not hard when they are the people who are meant to be in your life. Relationships are easy, or they should be. Yes, compromises must happen, and at times feelings will get hurt, but at the end of the day, those who truly care for you will not place rules on communication, make unfair demands of your time, and will always support your dreams and goals. These are the people who will seek creative ways to spend time with you. And the people who will understand when it may be 3 months between phone calls.
For these people, there is always time. They understand time spent together is about quality. This group wants the best for both of you, and is willing to meet you halfway. Life without goals, without dreams, is like watching black and white television. We were meant to live, to love, and to chase our goals and dreams.
In a world where abundance flows, seek true friendship and companionship. Smaller circles of friends and family allow you to surround yourself with people who are chasing their own goals, learning from each other, supporting each other. In this circle, you will not only find true friendship, you will find yourself.
Sara Orellana lives in Oklahoma City and writes a weekly column for The Lawton Constitution.