Can I Really Have It All?
I was recently enjoying a conversation with a delightfully bright young woman who before the age of 30 has achieved a Ph.D. and is completing a second graduate degree and internship now. She told me with an air of dismay that women of her generation are being told, and reading, how they cannot expect to have it all. She asked me if I thought it was true. “Define ‘having it all.’”
If having it all means you are doing everything you ever dreamed of all at the same time, then I would be questioning a manic episode for a bipolar patient. Why would you even want to have everything you ever wanted piled up together? How could you enjoy “having it all” at once, and what would you have to look forward to in the future?
If having it all means you have to be the CEO of Whatever, Inc., be at every one of your kids’ soccer games and show up with homemade cupcakes, your house is always immaculate, your hair and make-up are always good and your skinny jeans are a little loose, then I will argue this is not having it all, rather it is buying into a toxic message of never being good enough the way your are. If you realize your dream of being the secretary to the CEO, you make most of the soccer games with cupcakes or oranges you bought on the way to the park, and your favorite jeans are comfortable, then maybe you do have it all.
For me, having it all has been a lifelong journey. My bucket list is empty and I am thoroughly enjoying the bonus rounds. I must confess there have been many times along the way when I have declared, only half kidding, “I want it my way and I want it now!” I figured out the hard way that doesn’t work very well. Today, I can happily look at my life and say with confidence, I have had and do have it all. Whose measurement do I use? Mine! Why would I use anyone else’s?