The Ambition Interviews are a series of interviews about career women after college—with kids, without kids, staying at home, working part-time, working full-time, you name it.
The first impression I had of these interviews was “Wow!” That wow, however, was a wow tinged with sadness. Not because women everywhere are succeeding in the working world and raising children, but because of the huge sacrifices we all make in order to have a family and work at the same time.
Women in the working world, with its traditional nine-to-five hours that oftentimes stretch into 60+ hours a week, is like going through a meat grinder and trying to remain intact. And these are the stories of successful, educated women who are struggling with everything. The interviews don’t even go through what it’s like for single moms or those who struggle at the bottom, which is certainly that much worse.
But beyond that sadness, something stirs. A blend of creativity, wisdom, and authenticity is brewing. Wild, mad, excited, and crazy hope is rising: Rather than trying to squeeze into a box that we do not fit, that we will instead create wide open spaces in which we can grow and thrive.
We bring the sacred art of living and working in everything we do. In order to bring that magic forth, we need a breather. And that is in the literal sense as well as the figurative. Remembering to breathe in the morning, seeing the gray mist of morning, feeling the steaming cup of tea or coffee, savoring our breakfast; whatever morning ritual we can create before we begin our day.
We think we don’t have time for breathing. Breathing in and out, as if stillness were a luxury rather than a necessity. We need that. We need that moment before the plunge, before the board meeting, before the lunch rush, and the carpool, and the swim-meets and marathons. We need that moment where we feel nothing but our heartbeat and the air filling our lungs so that we can bring that centered oneness and cohesion to our day. Otherwise, the day unravels before we know it.
If you feel yourself unraveling like a pool of thread, there’s a great book called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, which makes a perfect New Year’s gift to yourself.
Otherwise, keep breathing, follow your inner compass, and tailor your life with the work-life-balance that works for you, and toss the rest. We’re Alchemists—only gold can stay.
Here are the interviews: