The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.—George Eliot, Middlemarch

The Atlantic explores the links between relationships and ambition. It’s a great article; don’t miss it. The writer does something of a disservice to ambition by tying it only to conventional material success. A similar disservice accrues to relationships: only family, congregation, and the kinds of tight-knit networks that rally round and bake cookies. I see more complexity though.

My experience is not that relationships and ambition are mutually exclusive, only that certain kinds of relationships preclude certain kinds of ambition, and certain kinds of ambition preclude certain kinds of relationship. Not all family life requires a fixed address and a picket fence. Not all ambitious development requires world-ranging and nowhere to lay your head.

The core issue is the consequence of choice. Whatever you choose, however you pivot, some options will shut down. Others recede for a time. And still others will always be available if you’re creative. Perhaps it’s best that we don’t know which is which ahead of time.

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