When Samantha, the ever-awesome ringmaster of this exciting blog tour, sent me an email giving me the topic from the lovely Christine for this guest post, my first reaction was “holy crap”. I have to be honest, my hands turned cold and I wasn’t sure I was equipped to have a good answer, seeing as that it’s often been my own life question. I have managed to answer this question before, but only for me personally. I have never shared my thoughts about this with other people, so let this be my debut.
The topic on hand is about having it all, with reference to how my main character Sarah Matthews seemed to have it all. She had the dotting (and uber handsome) husband, the two well-behaved children, a business of her own, and her dream house. In theory, she shouldn’t have had to worry about anything. But is this scenario even realistically possible in life? Can a woman really have it all?
I thought long and hard about this topic. The amount of time I spent just going over it is probably borderline ridiculous, and during those times had quite a few fights with my own mind. There was a lot of discussing and debating going on up in my head and there were even some new “voices” I’d never even heard before until recently. In my quest for answers, I also spoke to some of the people I have in my life who I have endless amounts of respect for. My long, super complicated thought process came up with this final answer: YES.
Now, before you throw your pots and pans at me and scream at me for being a naïve idiot in believing that every woman can have a perfect life, let me just explain here that while my answer is YES, there are a few catches that come with that answer.
First of all, notice how I mentioned earlier that Sarah “seemed” to have it all. This is the keyword here: seemed. Everyone’s “perfect” life is different, and it should be. So catch number one is you need to define first what your version of having it all is, and be realistic about it. Set goals in life on what you want (and can) accomplish in order to have it all. And I emphasize again on being realistic here, because if having it all to you means wanting to have a tree that grows money in your backyard… well, the chances of having it all seem a bit slim.
Secondly, look at you and you alone. What I mean by this is that you shouldn’t be comparing your life with others. Human beings have this nature of being jealous and let’s face it; there will always be someone with a bigger house, a bigger paycheck, perhaps a hotter husband and smarter, well-behaved kids… There will always be someone else with more. So don’t start comparing your life with other people’s because you’ll never be able to be happy with what you have. If you really, really can’t fight the urge to compare, then look another way. Look at someone who has a more challenging life. Not to be cruel and be overjoyed that someone else is having it tougher than you, but just enough to remind yourself to be grateful for what you already have.
Catch number three for me is that you have to learn how to ignore the small stuff. I love those books “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” – they really open your eyes and make you think about what’s important. Sometimes, when we let our guards down, we allow these tiny little things make our lives more difficult. Silly things like how your spouse or partner always forgets to put the cap back on the toothpaste tube, or how kids seem to love leaving dirty socks on the floor after school. Yes, they may be annoying. You won’t hear me arguing about that fact. But on a scale of priorities in your life, being listed down together with love, honesty, family, and health, how far up the scale can dirty socks and toothpaste tube caps go? Keep your focus on the bigger things, and let the small stuff go. (Not to say you can’t remind them and bug them about those things every once in awhile. But keep it light.)
The fourth and last catch I have found to be extremely necessary is that you need to share. There is a huge scope of sharing that we need to do in life, and sharing is not just about lending your neighbor a blender when theirs is broken or donating to charity. Sharing covers everything from sharing how you feel with the people you love (and listening to them in return because communication has to go both ways), sharing your time with people who need it (your kids, your spouse, your parents, etc.), sharing your wisdom and knowledge where necessary (at work, at school, in class, etc.), sharing your talents with an audience, and this list could go on for another several long paragraphs. Why I say this is because in order to stay positive, you need a positive environment. You certainly can’t sit around waiting for other people to share with you first, so why not start the kindness and generosity trend and go start sharing first? They say sharing is caring, and I really believe that, so my theory is that if you share/care enough, chances are people will be happy around you, appreciate you and care for you in return. All that makes for a happy, positive environment for you and for everyone in your circle of life.
Out of everything I have mentioned though, the common pattern here is that “having it all” is basically in your head and in your hands. You define it, and you control it. Whether you have it all, or just have a little, I think it really depends on how you look at things. Life will never be perfect in a generalized term, but life can be your kind of perfect.
There. I’ve said everything I think about having it all. Should I duck now?
Very well said, Shannon. No need to duck and cover! Thank you for writing this post. It is insightful and inspiring.