First of all, welcome to the Forum! (I wish that your first responses had said as much instead of insisting that you forget about getting a dog altogether.
I think that there IS a dog for you, but probably not a lab or a golden. I'm like you in that I love the idea of having a lab or a golden. They are both gorgeous breeds and can be awesome companions. Last fall, with the idea of getting a lab, I made a trip over to my local shelter and came home with a large, young dog, which resembled a cross between a shepherd and a lab. Physically, he was a very attractive dog.
However, I quickly discovered that he needed hours of exercise every day. I don't mean just a long walk in the morning or the evening, but a trip to the dog park every single day. I'm a teacher, and I found myself spending at least four to five hours every day during my winter break trying to meet his exercise and training needs. After two months, and when it was time for my spring semester classes to resume, I realized that I couldn't meet his needs and found him a new home with a younger, more active couple.
Fast forward a couple of months, and I now have two lovely dogs that love nothing more than to snuggle up to me. They require much, much less exercise. One is a four-year-old Pomeranian/ Dachshund mix. The other is an eight-year-old Pekingese mix. Since they are older dogs, especially the Pekingese, they like to spend a lot of time laying down next to me. We take short daily walks and play around the backyard for maybe five or ten minutes at a time. A dog like that is TOTALLY doable.
What you want to do is some research on smaller companion dogs instead of working dogs. Also consider adopting an older dog - at least three years old. A five-year-old dog will give you years of companionship and not need hours of exercise every day.