In my twenties and into my thirties, I was motivated and inspired by the catch cry “You can have it all!” Love, career, family, friends and everything in between.
Women were standing on their soap boxes joyfully proclaiming this sentiment. The click-bait headline of the naughties was ’10 easy steps to having it all’. And still it continues today.
Of course it wasn’t easy, it took hard work, and meticulous attention to detail to juggle ‘it all’ without dropping a ball. Getting that act right was a matter of nailing work/life balance.
And I believed it. I wanted it. I lived it. Yes, it’s possible and if that’s what you want, by all means go for it. After all, women have worked damn hard so our generation and those to follow can have it all.
However, as I find myself rapidly approaching my forties (and by rapidly I mean in approximately four months’ time), I find I don’t want it all anymore.
In fact, I don’t want much at all.
It’s too damn exhausting!
In recent times, this feeling has been bubbling under the surface for many women.
Many have tried and realised it’s too much hard work. Many have discovered that having it all, doesn’t bring happiness or achievement. Some ask why it’s even a question? – Do men get asked if they want it all? And some even say the notion is judgmental and degrading and that women shouldn’t be judged on the choices they make (to which I agree one thousand percent!)
But for me, I discovered it’s not about success or happiness, it’s simply about fulfillment. And I found I don’t need to have it all, or do it all, to find fulfillment.
I now realise, for me, having it all was external gratification. It was a perception that I put out there, not necessarily something that I felt in control of. Ever. And not something that ever brought any sort of authentic contentment. You know? That sort of contentment that you feel deep, deep down inside?
I don’t know if it is part of growing, learning, changing, or dare I say, becoming wise? Or if it’s just purely a realisation. I just don’t need to tick the boxes anymore.
My focuses are narrower. I’m drawing in the camera lens to the things that are the most important to me. Family and writing. I’ve figured out that within these two areas, I already have what I need for inner contentment. They bring me all emotions across the spectrum, good and bad, but mostly wonderful. And to me, that is my ‘having it all’.
Maybe it’s the fact that at this stage in life I’ve gone through many ups and downs. Emotionally, financially, spiritually. And finally, stability is here. Maybe that makes me lucky. Fortunate. Maybe, it allows me to simplify what I want. I don’t know.
But I do know that I no longer need to prove myself to anyone. I don’t need to prove I can have it all, because I don’t want it all. I just want these two things.
I’m glad to be moving into my forties in this frame of mind. Without the pressures of having to achieve or be someone.
It doesn’t mean I don’t have goals or dreams. You know I do. But I don’t need to realise those dreams to be content. They are simply a bonus.
I no longer need to keep up with anyone; the Jonses, the Kardashians or those who want it all. I only need to keep up with myself.
What does the phrase ‘Having it all’ mean to you?
Linking with Essentially Jess for ‘I Blog On Tuesdays’ (affectionately known as IBOT)