The concept of having it all has been sold as the dream! Enjoy all life has to offer with the great career/own venture, nicely balanced with a supportive partner and a few kids as the perfect cherry on top. Then manage it all like a G!
The idea of having it all often leaves a feeling of failing. The sense that success is only complete when all the pieces to the puzzle are in place; “What is a great career with no one to share it with?” my aunt would often say, and then the partner comes but judging eyes point to the imperfection because a crying baby is missing in the mix (some will go as far as saying this is not enough till there are multiple offspring)…where does it stop? well it doesn’t.
The misconception here is a one size fits all approach. I often find people that “have it all” but are still miserable. Some even resent the very things we call “having it all” and derive no form of joy from it.
Ruby recently shared an article on the top 5 regrets dying people typically had, thinking about them I feel this is often the case when we live by other people’s idea of “having it all”. I am very guilty of this so I make a conscious effort to reaffirm to myself it is okay to want to have it all in my own way. It’s okay not to aspire to a managerial level because it doesn’t fit into your ideal life, it’s okay not to want marriage because for you it is more constraining than liberating, it’s okay not to want kids because you don’t see that in the life you want and no one has to understand it – it’s YOUR life (life is short as it is, why spend it miserable?) It’s okay to think you subscribe to the world’s idea of having it all then finding out it’s not really what you want. Define what it means to have it all for your own self but while you think about that ponder on this regret list:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
– Brownie Ware
As a Kid I dreamt and dreamt big! Everything I came across inspired a dream. The beggars on the streets told me I will build an orphanage, fancy apartments said I will be a property developer, behind the scenes edits of a Walt Disney cartoon told me I will be a CEO of Marketing and sales company that made the final decision on catch phrases. I couldn’t wait to grow up and put all my dreams in motion. Then I grew up…
Something about growing up made me afraid to even dream. When a dream came to mind I quickly shut it out because I had learnt once I dreamt it, it wouldn’t happen for me – It was the failed ideas, the cost required vs my mundane salary, the embarrassment that I had discussed yet another dreams with family and friends only to admit yet another failure sometimes even before the project could start. Suddenly a world I thought was my oyster suddenly looked too big for a little girl. I was skeptical of even other people’s stories, “ take it with a pinch of salt after all you never know the full story just what you were told” I would say, “ Do you know if she has a godfather and is editing her journey?”. And to me this wasn’t being a pessimist it was simply being realistic because somehow with my experiences and with growing up I was sure I was more the wiser. So like everyone else I stuck to a 9-5- it pays the bill, keeps me afloat and as it is people envy where I am with life so why complain or dare hunger for more?
But something in me remained unsettled. Because I had dreamt and dreamt big! So I couldn’t understand this. There must be more to life. This can’t be all there is to living. This isn’t even living it is mare existing. So now I am learning the only thing I should fear is fear it self. I can’t let fear cripple me while life keeps passing by. Though I haven’t put any of my dreams to motion, I am learning to dream again and control my fears. When I am afraid to dream I will remind myself the past is the past. If the failings of the past aren’t lessons learnt for growth then it is simply the past. And when the size of my dreams overwhelms me I shall say to my self “if you can dream it you can do it”.