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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

One More F'n Post About Having It All

“Life is way to short to spend another day at war with yourself. “ Rae Smith

It seems to me that the world is at war with women.  I don’t know what we did to deserve this battle (other than that whole apple thing in the garden) but there has been way too much talk about whether or not women can truly have it all.  Debates, hate speech, snarky and uninvited comments every time a woman tries to say that she can.  And even some pointed at those who say that they can’t.  So you might as well take aim now, because I have an opinion too.


Or maybe you can?  I don't know.

Let’s face it.  You can only have it ALL if your all is just ONE thing.  (Or maybe one thing at a time.)  You can be the very best mother.  You can be the kick ass career woman who shatters every ceiling.  You can be a passionate and attentive wife.  You can be the most fabulous friend a girl could ask for – supportive to the bitter end.  But, you can’t be the all of those things at the same time.

Something’s got to give.  Somebody has to get less, at some point.  More often than not, that somebody is you.

I hate acknowledging this but it’s a life lesson that I have come to accept and embrace.  History (and a little therapy) has taught me that I can either give 100% to one thing at a time or I can try to multi-task and be about 60% of everything.  That’s not having it all.  That’s slightly better than just getting by, and barely at that.  The crazy attempt at perfection creates a swirling madness.  It breeds disappointment, guilt, anxiety, depression and sleep deprivation.  Nobody grows up aspiring to that.

All is not lost.  Just because you can’t have everything doesn’t mean that you are settling for nothing.  Hardly.  You can live a very rich life, filled with friends, family and a great job that sustains you.  You can invest in self-care, be it biking, yoga, or some crazy-assed obstacle course race that is all the rage these days.  You can focus your attention on your children in those hours of the day that they absolutely need your attention, and save the rest for your friends or your partner.  You can politely say no to demands on your time, and know that you have freed yourself up for things that speak to you.  You can have hobbies.  You can make memories.  You can die happy.  You can LIVE happy.

I tell my daughter she can be ANYTHING.  But I don’t tell her that she can be EVERYTHING, because she can’t.  And I wouldn’t wish that for her or on her.  Her world is even more chaotic than mine ever was.  The demands for attention from the universe are at an all time high.  And you can’t really just run along side.  You are either all in or all out.  Have you ever seen someone get dragged by a car?  That’s my interpretation of what happens when you try to drive at the speed limit in the fast lane.  You get crushed.

“That’s the key to having it all: stop expecting it to look like what you thought it was going to look like.”  Sex and the City

This quote is dead on.  It’s the mental picture in our head, put there by someone else’s definition of having it all that is ruining it for the rest of us.  We feel like we are being purposefully defiant of the ‘true meaning’ by forging our own path when that was the right and only choice all along. 

The quickest way to end the war on women is to get out of the fight.  To stand down on your judgment of other women but mostly, your own self-hatred.  It erodes your joys and feeds your doubts.  Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Happiness is not a goal.  It is a by-product of a life well lived.”  So be victorious. Revise your definitions. Live your life well.  And have it all.  

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