Why Not Having it All is Okay

This is a sequel to my previous post “Can a Woman Ever Have it All?” in which I wrote “what matters more is not having it all, but the striving that a woman does…”

I came along this article by Anne-Marie Slaughter, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” An academician in the fields of politics and international affairs, a woman who once held a high-level government post (which she left in order to have more time for family and teaching), and currently President and CEO of the New America Foundation, wrote that though she believed women, as well as men, can indeed have it all, even have it all at the same time, yet she stresses

“but not today, not with the way America’s economy and society are currently structured. My experiences over the past three years have forced me to confront a number of uncomfortable facts…”

What struck me was her assertion:

“Women of my generation have clung to the feminist credo we were raised with, even as our ranks have been steadily thinned by unresolvable tensions between family and career, because we are determined not to drop the flag for the next generation. But when many members of the younger generation have stopped listening, on the grounds that glibly repeating “you can have it all” is simply airbrushing reality, it is time to talk.”

Another article, The Only Definition of Success That Matters”  likewise explains what matters most is whether you are happy! The author, Jeff Haden wrote, and I quote: “Defining success is important, but taking a clear-eyed look at the impact of your definition matters even more. As in most things, your intention is important, but the results provide the real answer.

In other words, whatever you choose to do, if it brings you happiness, you are satisfied, then you are successful in that area. He also stresses, like I do, something else has to give. You cannot have everything, for as he says, “tradeoffs are unavoidable […]  Other things are clearly more important than making money, and that’s okay.”

I most agree with him that there are more important things in life than making money (more than we actually need for ourselves and our families and the good works we do for others), and reaching for the top. These are good goals, but they should not take precedence over our time spent with family and loved ones, maintaining good health and inner balance. I again stress that instead of focusing our energies on having it all, we should strive to do our best in anything we do for the betterment of ourselves, our families, our communities. Let us strive to leave a good mark and make our world a better place each day.

 

Can A Woman Ever Have it All?

My Personal Thoughts on Having It All

Having it all, for most people, carries the connotation of having reached the level of success an individual has envisioned for oneself.

Often too, success for many women is measured up against what the society/culture/organization/ dictates upon them. In today’s world, usually having it all is tied to material as well as social expectations.

And if a woman tends to conform to those dictates, she may feel a sense of failure, or a sense of not yet being accomplished – thus, having it all will still be an elusive dream for her.

I’d rather define my personal success, as a woman, as having attained my dreams or accomplished my goals, short-term or long-ranged.

Yet, it also depends on how a woman defines “having it all” based on her values, principles and aspirations in life. Thus, if I were talking about my values, especially in terms of family, love, happiness, health – I must say I have it all. These are the intangibles in my life I cherish most.

On the other hand, it can be said that having it all is dependent on the attainment of material goals, and I guess this is easier to evaluate or quantify.

Still, on deeper reflection, since life is not perfect, I wonder how one can truly “have it all,” but this is me – my own understanding of that expression. I do not believe that any woman can realistically have it all at the same given time, no matter how one tries to: fame, wealth, love, good health, family, career, having a successful business — the list goes on.

Somehow, something has to give, one way or the other, no matter how one does her best to achieve work-life balance.  Besides, there are circumstances beyond the control of the individual that may affect her attainment of all her hopes and dreams.

Thus, I consider myself a work in progress; each day, presents new challenges. Somehow, there are things that I wish I had but still don’t, or there are tasks/goals I still yet have to meet. There are aspects of myself I know I must harness or improve to be the best person I can ever be – for myself, for my loved ones, for God.

Despite these “imperfections” or “lack of something” or “small failures,” in my life, am I happy? YES – and that is what matters for me because all these are measured up against MY OWN values, beliefs, life principles grounded on my personal faith in God, most of all. I have learned to be content with what I have for now, but I still strive to the best I can.

I do believe what matters more is not having it all, but the striving that a woman does in order to achieve, to grow, to contribute in whatever way she can – time, talent, resources, her heart, her love, for the betterment of the world around her.

My dear readers, do you think a woman can ever have it all? Share your thoughts with me.