If you thought the music industry was the only line of business where men are a majority, small opportunities are seized with desperate passion, money is hard to come by (unless you’re in the top 1%), and you live and breathe your passion… it ain’t. This Fall, I’m getting married to a mountain guide, and let me tell you, the mountain guiding industry is exactly the same.
About a month after booking our honeymoon flights, my fiancé was invited to join a team of rock and alpine climbers to start training and planning for a big, high-altitude expedition in 2013. The first, mandatory, five-day training session is literally on the five days right before our wedding. And a second 10-day training session starts two days after the wedding. His initial reaction was, “Oh well, I can’t do it.” Mine was, “Let’s see what we can do.” After sleeping on it for a few days, I’m realizing I should have kept my mouth shut.
Here’s the thing. If I landed a showcase for a record label or was invited to tour with Sheryl Crow for the week immediately following my wedding, I’m not sure what I would say. It could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but then, a wedding and honeymoon is a once-in-a-lifetime event (ideally). And while you know what will come out of a wedding, you can never predict the results from any career “opportunity.” The definition of opportunity is “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.” Possible, not certain.
Either of us taking on a career opportunity and altering plans that we’ve set brings us back to the old way of working our relationship. We’ve got plans, then something comes up, and we rearrange our plans to fit it in. It feels desperate, disappointing, and unmagical – the world of romance and “we’ve made a long-distance relationship work!” is sullied. Our friends and family who have been rooting for us will see the situation and say, “Of course they had to postpone their honeymoon. They couldn’t even make wedding plans work with no glitches.” It’s very typical of us, when ironically, all I wanted was an “atypical” experience, for us – i.e., one that was “normal” and didn’t involve mountainous logistics (literally and figuratively).
On the flip side, I understand the industries we are both biting into. What I’m creating is a successful career for both of us, but does that mean that putting off wedding plans is worth it? How can you judge what is “worth it” when wrestling between your personal and professional life?
Is a honeymoon an opportunity? Absolutely. We are lucky to have been given the opportunity to create a life together and establish a planned retreat to set the tone of our marriage. So I need to look at my personal situations as opportunities, and weigh them against the professional opportunities.
But, where do you draw the line between career and personal life opportunities? Does your career always come first? How do you balance between conflicting opportunities?
Cheryl B. Engelhardt is an established pianist/singer/songwriter who has toured the US and Europe, licensed songs to over a dozen TV shows, and who composes music for films, national ads, and CollegeHumor.com. Cheryl is the author of “In The Key Of Success: The 5 Week Jump-Start Strategy,” an incredibly effective, results-oriented eCourse for independent musicians who are serious about breaking through plateaus in their careers. Because you are a loyal Echoes reader, you get a ridiculous 70% discount off the regular price by typing in IHEARTDM in the “discount code” field. Cheryl’s next workshop will be held in NYC in August 2012. For more info, visit her website www.CBEmusic.com and follow her on Twitter @CBE.
And yes, she and her fiancé chose to keep their honeymoon plans intact.