The Choices that Can Break your Heart

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Article by Wendy McCance

I was talking with a friend quite a long time ago about their divorce.  They were completely broken-hearted over the end of a relationship that had gone on since high school.  Their marriage had produced a few kids that were now grown and on their own.  My friend still pines for their partner and says that they were and still are the love of their life.

My friend began to talk about what led to the divorce.  This friend is incredibly successful and has more money than they know what to do with.  Basically they could retire at an early age and live very well.  My friend was a workaholic.

They became so focused on providing for the family and not letting a deal slip by that the family became second to the job.  Years of neglect caused a tear in the family unit that just couldn’t be sewn back together.

These days my friend and their ex are still the best of friends.  They share everything with each other.  I wish they were able to work everything out and get back together.  Unfortunately, I think too much time has past and they have grown too far apart over the years.

I know I’ve mentioned this subject before, but I still wonder how you can have it all?  How do you juggle all that is important to you without letting something slip through the cracks and become unrepairable?

I feel the tug-of-war on a daily basis.  I want to really put the effort into my job and gain all the success I dream of.  I want to have a tight-knit family that is truly there for each other and is comforted by knowing that I will always be there for them.  I want to continue to have the incredible intimacy with my husband that makes me feel that he is my best friend and confidant.  There is so much more though.  I want to pursue a writing career.  I want to be a published author and become well-known for my writing.  I want close ties with friends and I want to feel like life’s an adventure where I am creating new interests and pursuing hobbies not yet known to me yet.

I have had to make choices.  Every choice affects every other choice in my life.  My family comes first.  The kids are growing and need their mom.  They are my number one priority.  My husband falls in the second spot only because he is a grown up and can take care of himself.  My job comes third which explains why I am not the most successful person at the office and why we don’t have an overabundance of free-flowing cash.  Writing follows my job only because the money is more important than what can only currently be called my hobby.  Friends fall below all of the above.  I tend to seek out friendships where there are like-minded people who aren’t offended by being so far down the list.  I am in the same spot on their list and we exist as friends in a peaceful harmony because we have the same way of looking at what is most important to us.

I often wonder what my life would look like if I were to juggle the priorities around a bit.  I feel sometimes that I have missed some gigantic opportunities for a myriad of success because of my choices.

Ultimately, when I ponder the way I have chosen to live my life, I do feel a quiet satisfaction for choosing in the order that I have.  For me , personally, my husband and children are my life.  They are what makes me want to wake up each day and really live my life.  They are everything to me and my choices feel good and right.

I hope that my friend is able to find a good combination in life so that they don’t feel any more pain for what could have been if they had only chosen differently.  My friend has taken time off from work to reflect.  The once workaholic has slowed down and is really taking the time to examine the life they have in front of them.  They are questioning all the decisions they thought were right for so many years.  Who can blame someone for putting their heart and soul into work with the feeling that they are doing it because they love their family and want them to feel taken care of, comforted and in a position where they don’t have to want for anything other than the emotional bond from their partner?

What do you think?  Are you happy with the order in which things take priority?  Is this article eye-opening and something you hadn’t thought of?  Do you wish to make changes, or are you content with where you are?

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

34 thoughts on “The Choices that Can Break your Heart

  1. Thought-provoking post, Wendy.

    It’s a dilemma to me why two people who share children, love and respect each other would divorce. Yet, it happens and more and more people are divorcing after fifty. I’m guessing that workaholism will make strangers out of couples. One day they wake up, look at each other and wonder who they’ve been married to for all these years.

    Your choice to put your children and husband first is the right choice, although I don’t see why you can’t fulfill your dream too. I’ve read a few of your posts and have always enjoyed them. You’ve the desire and the talent.

  2. What a heartfelt article. Thank you, Wendy.
    When I think about my past, I do my best to make sure that I’m not holding onto regret. Regret is one of those toxic emotions that isn’t very helpful.

    I have to consciously remember that I made the best decisions that I could with the tools and information I had at the time.

  3. Thank you Wendy for a great discussion. I did not know what I wanted to be when I was younger I just took a job that paid the rent. When my son was an infant I had was able to work from home then money got tight and I went to work. My previous job I was at for almost 10 years and felt guilty putting in so many hours and some Saturdays and not spending time with my son (I’m a single parent). Now my son is 18 and will graduate from high school this June. I now have time to spend searching for meaningful work and have only me to answer to. It’s a new path and I am excited to see where it leads.

  4. My list of priorities has been the same as yours - no real regrets - just wish I’d found out sooner “what I really want to be when I grow up” - could have put more effort into that when I was younger, pre-children, then wouldn’t feel as though I had to start over at mid-life once child-rearing responsibilities began to lessen. But I always think both parents should put the kids first; there are many different ways to do that, though. A couple things I did that made me feel as though I wasn’t neglecting myself - I always made time to exercise and I participated in writing groups, developing my so-called talent. (I worked, too, but always had flexible work schedule; I was very fortunate there.) Still, kids were always the priority. Friends were the last. I am working to change that, the friends part, that is.

    • I had the same experience as you. My 20′s weren’t the most focused. I wish I had been able to really go after a career before the kids, but I was still not sure of what direction to go in.

  5. My children have now grown up and left home but I have so much delight and sense of achievement as they are all well balanced, beautiful human beings and give a lot to society. I was a stay at home mum until I reached 45 and then started an extremely successful career. Money was indeed tight, even more so since my husband was severely ill and it did place a strain on our marriage but we are still together. I think you have to make difficult choices at times in
    your life but if you are a parent, for me the choice is easy, put them first before anything else.

  6. You can’t have it all. There’s simply not enough time and not enough stuff to go around. So it just means you have to you to figure out what really matters to you and do your best to acquire it-and preserve it. That doesn’t mean you can’t be happy, quite the opposite, it just means that putting a little effort into figuring what’s going to make you happy is probably a decent idea.

    Connor Rickett blogs at his business site and at his personal (for fun) site. Stop by and say hi!

      • Well, I am aways behind you on this, so I doubt I really added much. . . Twenty-five, no kids, no wife, but I have had the experience of having to choose between career and relationships, and I’ve chosen the former more often than the latter so far.

        I can say that my parents, when it came down to it, always chose family, like you have, and I think they chose right. Our greatest successes will always be the people who follow us; we are fleeting, but they stretch on into the vast future. In any case, I enjoyed your thoughts on it all.

        Connor Rickett blogs at his business site and at his personal (for fun) site. Stop by and say hi!

  7. When I read posts like this it makes me glad that I am still with the love of my life, and that we have never had a lot of money as I think many people who have a lot of money never seem to have happy lives………….I love my life and even though my husband drives me around the bend and up the wall often I am still in love with him and in it for the long haul………….

  8. At the moment I am happy to be single and focus on my writing career. My guineapigs and my friends and family and still a huge priority in my life and at the moment I am putting so much effort into everything that I often feel I don’t have time to breathe.

  9. Hi Wendy,
    Having it all means different things to different people. You have such a gift for getting me to think. I was just talking to my husband about this very topic last night. Being a stay-at-home mother was never in my plans. I didn’t think I could have kids. I went to nursing school and my husband said he would stay home if we had any kids. I decided that I wanted to be a SAHM and he agreed. I love every minute of it. We decided to move a few years ago to be closer to family and my husband took a job where he worked significantly less hours and, as a result, make less money. It was a hard few years. My husband is a great salesman. It is a gift to him, like writing is to you. That job was not for him. He now has a job that he suits him to a tee. He works all the time, but he is thriving. Because we are both in good places now, we make his long hours work and we balance it out with the kids’ schedules so they can spend time with him. I love nursing and want my blog to succeed, but nothing beats watching my kids grow up and have “those moments.”
    When all else fails, I have A.D.D. (the clinical kind, not the punchline kind). I can have it all, but only in increments of 5-15 minutes. Yes, I also know how to make fun of myself.


    • Thanks so much for your comment Karina. It sounds like you have a very supportive husband and a good balance in your family. I’m with you on wanting to be there as the kids grow up. It happens so fast and you never get that back.

  10. These thoughts and comments are very familiar, as most of us have pondered about life, and questioned ourselves.. In my humble opinion, the bottom line is to understand we are all humans, we will never make all of the right choices, nor have the perfect lives, or ever seem to have enough time to achieve everything we so desire. We will make the wrong decisions, we will fail to prioritize as we probably should, we will allow things to fall through the cracks, but as long as we are doing our utmost best and try as much as possible to live in the moment, happiness will always be our companion and those we so love.

    Dreams and ambitions are healthy as they nourish one’s heart, mind and soul, but sometimes we place such demands upon ourselves we never realize true happiness in every minute of every day. All things seem to come together with love, true love, as true love is to love unconditionaly one’s self and one another with open hearts and understanding, accepting all of our slight imperfections:) If you ever come across someone that can do it all perfectly, check to see if they are operating on batteries, as no doubt they will be a robot, and not human:) Have a beautiful day, we all deserve as much happiness as HUMANLY possible!!!

  11. Thanks for asking essential questions in this post. It is really something we should all be doing every single day…EVERYTHING has a cost in either mental, physical or spiritual “coin” and the wisest among us keep that awareness alive at all times. A big question I think not enough of us ask is whether or not to even have children…that’s why I wrote my current blog post “The Big Minimalist Questions-Kids? Or No Kids? Anyone that is interested can read it at Thanks again for pointing out the need to make such choices….

  12. Wendy, a lot of good points to reflect on. Balance is the key. A holisitc approach to life, with family, relationships, work, health, excersise and the ever most important thread, God. We do the best we can to balance and properly prioritize but life is intense and so complicated that the wisdom of God and a faith filled heart that has a learning, teachable spirit is key to brings us to new and wonderful places. It’s not easy and we need to realise that we can not do it on our own. We are not designed to. We are relational beings and need to be open to that. I just went through the toughest 3 years of my life includng a divource yet with all of that I have become stronger and wiser than ever. A lot of words. Thanks for the thoughts.

  13. Thanks again. My guess is your frequent reference to ‘they’ and ‘them’ to refer to ‘him’ or ‘her’ is driven by your commitment to maintain confidentiality as you describe this scenario. While ‘protecting identities’ is a considerate gesture, ‘having one’s own identity’ is critical to defining and pursuing one’s own priorities and happiness. Anyway, whether it’s ‘him’ or ‘her’, I wish the best for ‘them’ … and for you as well. Take Care ..

    • When I write the more personal articles, I definitely try to keep it neutral although I understand it makes it a little bit more difficult to read. Some of what is written is real and some it isn’t to further keep a person’s issue’s private.

  14. I looked upon those who seemed to have it all at the same time with envy, but of course, I know that what I saw may not have been their reality at all. I found that I could have it all-just not at the same time. There was a time for work and career when I was young and after my daughter left for college. In between, there was family and joy and plenty of fatigue. I neglected myself and often failed to even make the bed each morning, but I danced with the clock, and it was in charge. I dreamed of retiring, but feared not having my work, the work that had defined me as a young and older woman. Now I can’t remember why I thought letting go would be so tough. Now I answer to my own timepiece, and my husband and I have reinvented our lives, uprooted ourselves, held hands and leaped into one more unknown. It’s a fine time-challenging but ever so satisfying.

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