Earlier this week, my boyfriend and I decided to meet up for lunch during work hours. We set a time and agreed to go to a Mexican restaurant he had been dying to take me to - they serve shrimp and bacon burritos; who wouldn’t want a shrimp and bacon burrito?
Of course, as soon as I left the office, one of my clients had a mini-crisis, and I received a barrage of emails. By the time I got to the restaurant, I was frazzled. Normally, I’m an attentive listener and genuinely love hearing about my boyfriend’s day. But throughout the entire lunch, I only half-listened to the things he was saying because the other half of my mind was filled with stressful and distracting thoughts:
Oh god, what if something terrible happens if I don’t respond to this email right away?
Was I supposed to stay at my desk in case this happened?
Holy crap! What if this leads to a bigger crisis, and IT’S ALL MY FAULT?!?!
I ended up cutting lunch short and ran back to my desk to respond to the emails. After getting that off my chest and taking a deep breath, I quickly realized that another half hour wouldn’t have made a difference.
I made the classic mistake of failing to be present and allowing that to detract from quality time with my favorite person. And I didn’t even get to enjoy my shrimp and bacon burrito - which was delicious, in case you were wondering.
That’s when it hit me: So, this is what people mean when they say work-life balance is hard. And it’ll only continue to get harder. I could so clearly see how tempting it would be to let the ping of your emails take priority over your partner, or how easy it would be to work late when you’re focused on a promotion even though your relationship needs work too. But is it worth it?
For me, it’s not.
If I were to never see my boyfriend again after that lunch, I would have been filled with regret for the rest of my life for not spending that extra half hour with him and watching him enjoy the shit out of his burrito; this experience was a great reminder of that. I know I’m going to repeat this mistake many times throughout my life with the people I care most about. But I can make a point to be aware of the situation, always remind those close to me how much they are loved and try my best to do better.
Afterward, I texted my boyfriend: “You’re the best. Sorry if I seemed distracted at lunch, still trying to learn composure when work gets crazy. Love you!”
His response: “I love you for how much effort you put into thinking about how to be the best girlfriend ever even though you already are - like that last text where you wanted to make sure I felt loved enough even though I totally understood what was up with you.”
How could I possibly not give my 100% to a guy like that?