The HAVING IT ALL Myth

We hear a lot about “having it all” these days. It seems there’s a new study or piece in a newspaper, magazine, radio show, TV program, or blog everyday on how or if we can have it all. Mostly they refer to women in these articles, but men are susceptible to the this have it all thing too. Especially these days when everyone purportedly wants a fulfilling job, two kids, a happy family, a bright social circle, and engaging partner, lover, or spouse, a great body, and lots of money. But if we really stop and think about it, my “having it ALL!” is different than yours. Yours might include having children, time to work out, a spouse who loves you above all else, work that gives you a steady paycheck, health insurance, going out to eat once a month, and trips to Disneyland. Or it might mean the freedom to travel all the time, a life free of things, a life on the road. Or it might be international fame you’re seeking, a career in movies that’s the envy of all your friends. Or it could be a big family and a bigger house and a billion dollars.

Having it all is really up to you and me – it’s a totally subjective thing. But I do find it trickier to decide what it is I want when I spend any part of my day on social media or out with friends. I adjust what I want in my life to be in alignment with what they want. Having it all means more Lululemon pants for my yoga friends and a stronger core. I want that too! And having it all means distribution for an indie film for my producer friends – hey, I want that too! For my travel-obsessed friends, having it all means taking a year off and living abroad. Total immersion. That sounds awesome. I’ll take it! Add that to my list of having it all.

What don’t I want? I don’t want kids. I don’t want steady work with no creative outlet. I don’t want a nine-to-five job; I would rather work super long hours doing something I love. I don’t even necessarily care about a steady paycheck. None of that stuff fits into my “having it all” category.

I also know that when I do have it all in work, I don’t have time to practice yoga, to cook my own food, to sleep (getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night is definitely in my having it all queue!), or spend time with loved ones. But I love those long days and nights on set, and I love it when that work is done. I really enjoy cooking dinner every night and testing recipes, but sometimes I like to travel far, far away and eat out every meal.

This leads me to believe that having it all in life is not possible. We know this. Everyone says it’s so. But maybe we can focus on what we really, really want to be doing with our lives – 18 hour days on set! ha! – and do that for a week or a month. That’s a version of having it all. It’s my version, but it’s probably not yours. Having it all isn’t really even desirable, life changes too much. If I’m in the flow then what I want is different from one moment to the next. If I’m living a mindful life then I’m less affected by all the noise, all the studies, blogs, articles, or The New York Times’s opinion piece hectoring women (and men) to have children or instead to “lean in” to work. The TV and radio shows selling me constantly and telling me what I need to buy to be happy. When I’m present, I care more about what really, truly satisfies me on a soul level and less about society’s ideas about what will fulfill me. And guess what? I don’t care about having it all. And I don’t really want any more new $100 yoga pants.

For someone who wants kids, having it all with infants around probably just means a good night’s sleep, nourishing food, and time to savor those precious early years.

What’s my point? We can have it all. It’s just that “all” is so much bigger and smaller than we think. It’s bigger because it’s that whole moment. And it’s smaller because we’re living decades longer. Having it all can mean going to the Farmers Market with enough money in your wallet to buy all the fresh, heirloom tomatoes you want. And in that moment you’re gold.

Having it all can mean having the time & money to go the Farmers Market & shop

 

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About the Author: Tania Van Pelt is the creator of Happiness Series. After working in film, she realized that creating content for an online world that moves and inspires people is where it's at. She loves the immediacy and the vibrancy of working online. Tania created Happiness Series because she wants to empower people to live healthier, longer, more joyful lives through fitness, nutrition, stress management and integrative wellness. After years of research and practical application, she is excited about the newest project, Ageless Diet™. Ageless Diet is a lifestyle that promotes an Ageless You. Because getting older doesn't have to mean aging, and losing weight doesn't have to be hard. Happiness Series and Ageless Diet are going in new directions, bringing people together in beautiful settings with retreats and conferences. Books and a cooking series are soon to follow. Tania also recently completed her sitcom web/TV series pilot Employees Only, at http://employeesonly.tv.