All of the logical, rational models we learn in school are actually not always that useful. We learn to solve for x, to optimize when the tradeoff between X and Y is known, to build upon expectations. All that stuff is well and good and extremely useful in situations like that.
However, most of life is about dealing with the unknown. Falling in love is more about kissing a stranger (or at least someone you’ve never kissed before), who might be a prince or a frog, than it is about discovering the algorithym for perfect compatibility.
I take it loving your work comes more from showing up and doing your best, and seeing if you like it or not as well. And to figure out what the hell you’re working for as well. We don’t know exactly whether this job will lead to this promotion, or how the industry will fare, or much beyond what they say they will pay you.
Loving a city is as redonkulous as loving a man. One day you realize that this is kind of home, and where you want to be. Maybe not forever, but you definitely want to see this again. Sure, they have plenty of similar attractions in many other cities, and the country has its charms as well, but really you might pass through several times before for whatever reasons Cupid’s arrow strikes.
What it all comes down to is that life is a glorious whole and solving for x is not the most viable method. We can’t figure out “work-life balance” because it is based on faulty premises, just as the “war on terror,” based on a tactic, is rather difficult to win.
You love your job, but it doesn’t make enough money/work too many hours/aren’t doing enough good for the planet/long commute. You hate your job but you make plenty of money/hours aren’t too bad/stable career options. Etc etc etc
Is life really about trying to achieve good or excellent rankings in every category? Certainly it is an iterative process where we strive to do better but if perfection is the requisite for success, or happiness, we are going nowhere faast. The false choices, the unexamined assumptions, and just turning life into a math equation are not going to get us there.
Nope, life is jst an adventure, or nothing at all. It’s a story. Sure, there will be ups and downs. But you want to be writing that story for the right reasons. You want to make honest mistakes. If you are going to suffer, let it be for love. If you are going to do something, it might as well be art. Life is a glorious whole, and not everything is under your control. Relax- we do have an idea of how the story ends anyway- and just enjoy it. Let each phase ripen, be who you are, let it be.