On Not Having It All
We cannot have it all. Fact. Screw what Cosmo magazine told us in 2014 - there is no way in hell we can tick every box and make it to the turn of the year without driving ourselves into a ground. January is over and with it any attempts I’m making at morphing myself into an entirely different person. I’m finally accepting that mediocre is more than enough, and trying to be perfect in every aspect will only leave me burying my sorrows with my good friends Ben and Jerry. This thought process is one I’ve been running with a while, but for fear of sounding like a sad sad broken record, it’s one I’ve kept to myself. I am content. I promise. But I’ve become even moreso after realising that I’ll always fall short of having it all. For now, I’m settling for having it all-ish, and that is more than enough.
What even is ‘it all’? If we go by the five pillars of life that I memorised while on the law of attraction hype with every other millennial with a dream, your five pillars are relationships, career, money, health and spiritual growth (plus a house that doesn’t smell like someone has died in it, as I’m not sure where that would fall). Something has to give. There is no shame in admitting that it’s not possible to do it all. A times, life can feel like a constant cycle of spinning far too many plates > saying screw it and letting a few go, then scrambling to pick them back up when the inadequacy gets too much. Maybe it’s FOMO, modern day comparison or the realisation that if you don’t pick the career plate back up quickly then you’ll have to accept living in a cardboard box for eternity. Who knows, but the cycle is exhausting.
I feel like it would be easy to title this post ‘Why Women Can’t Have It All’ and fall down the rabbit hole of child-bearing, periods, and blaming men for everything. Truth be told, I don’t think gender has anything to do with our ability to tick every box. I don’t think men - or women - can have it all. That’s life. What there does seem to be is this pressure on women to do more, be more and have more. In a movement towards female empowerment, we’ve been sold on the idea of being able to do everything. Be mothers, be girl bosses, be mentally sound and have an ass like Kim Kardashian, is it any wonder we fall short? Oprah once famously said that we can have everything, but we cannot have everything all at once. And that there is a mantra I can get on board with.
Your not a negative nancy for realising that it’s just not possible to juggle all of the plates. It's taken me this long to realise that there is no shame in choosing what is important at any one moment. I've decided which plates are important to me, and I've let the others clatter to the ground in a heap. At the moment, my career is on the back burner - or the slow burner, rather - while I focus on things that make me happy in this very moment. I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up (whenever that happens) so rather than waste my energy on half arsing a career that I don’t see myself doing in the long term, I’ve stopped stressing it. I have a job, a nice, easy-going, leave behind at the door sort of job, and it will tide me over until I decide to pick the career plate back up again. Until then, I’ll focus on my relationships, my child and my health. In a few years time, the tables may turn, and my career may be at the forefront. In a few years time, I might only be able to think about doing squats and meditating. In a few years time, my only focus in life may be my spirituality. Unlikely, but anything could happen.
I’d like to believe we go through stages, and while there is no way I can have everything right now, I can have everything at some point. For now, mediocre is more than enough. I can’t have everything, but then again, I don’t think I want it either.