I had a great, stress-free single life that included a plush job in the city, good salary and nice apartment; I had never felt better. Shortly thereafter, I met my current fiancee Shane through a mutual friend and we started dating. I had never felt more loved than when I was around him. He quickly became the most important person in my life. It all resembled a perfect fairytale, except... we were living a two-hour plane journey away from each other. Soon Shane was flying over to see me every Thursday afternoon and flying back home on Monday mornings. This inbound-outbound fairytale went on for six months and was draining him physically. One of us had to compromise to make the relationship work.
I decided to lean back to make space for love in my life, whilst putting my high-flying career in finance on the chopping board. There were many questions, but no real answers. With the exception of Shane's absence, I adored my life. I loved the Tube, traffic and being woken up by an ambulance or police car speeding past the window at 4am. I enjoyed working late, followed by a night with friends drinking cocktails in cool bars. How would I cope with a small town, a steady pace, nosy neighbors and a limited amount of likeminded people around? What would I do regarding work? Finally, I decided to put "carpe diem" to practical use and got on the plane.
The first night in the new place was awful. It was very quiet; there were more horses living around then there were people. The next morning, I was woken up by birds and other than that, the sound of silence.
The first month I felt completely out of place. I spent my days trying to figure out whether to be Martha Steward or Arianna Huffington. Approaching thirty, I had to decide whether to lean in, and get back on the horse, or lean back and buy a horse. I decided the cheesy tune of "you can have it all" actually wasn't the script of another mission impossible. With the support of many great friends who had managed to successfully shine as stars of Fortune 500 companies – as well as being amazing mothers and wives – I chose to lean in. It turned out to be the best decision I could have made for my life, my family and my career.
I am now a co-founder of a great startup focusing on social media backup for major platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and more. After hours, I've gone from a person who could barely put a decent sandwich together to a becoming kitchen maverick who can easily bake three cakes and a roast for my stepdaughter, whilst going through spreadsheets and wireframe features for the future versions of Frostbox.
I am not saying this to brag, or to make someone who chooses to lean back feel bad. I am saying this because as a fairly typical woman, without any special talents or family fortunes, I managed to combine the best of both worlds and I truly believe most of you can do it too.