I had the good fortune of learning from wonderful teachers and professors. They were all experts in their chosen fields and their dedication is inspiring. The very thought of emulating them is to me, tempting and terrifying at the same time. I’m assaulted by self doubt. Is it possible to devote myself to my profession above all else? Is absolute devotion necessary to advance the field? Is it worth it? When I asked my nanotechnology professor he said ‘Yes’. Not even a single moment of hesitation. Then again, he is divorced.
Having given some thought to it in the past, I have come to believe that for most ordinary people like myself, raising a family and gaining expertise in a field of study are two separate, full time jobs. Hence it is important to list out our priorities before hand. If profession comes out on top, then perhaps its a good idea to hold off on family for awhile. At least, till we can find a partner who has complementing priorities. It is also important to honestly reevaluate these priorities when in doubt.
I personally agree with my professor. However, at the end of the day, we should choose what makes us happiest even if there is a trade off involved. We need not be super heroes juggling a million things at once. Judgement from well meaning family members, friends and colleagues be damned.