“Each of us has license to write our own definition of having it all. One that matters only to us. It starts with understanding who we are and accepting our all is a fluid state that will constantly evolve with changing circumstance.” ~ Peta Sitcheff
“Thank God that is over.” You sigh as you flop down, face first across your bed after the day from absolute hell.
Any scraps of energy you had when you woke up that morning, had been sucked up by the Oscar worthy performance you just dished up.
Everyone got what they expected. They always did. Because that is the person you had always let them see. The polished, happy & energised. Fully “made up” in an outfit today that was on its designer’s Instagram site yesterday.
In their eyes, you had it all. In your heart you know you didn’t.
By golly it was exhausting trying to be someone you’re not.
I was recently interviewed on The Juggling Act podcast & asked if I thought women could “have it all” ? This was after reading the quote in My Beautiful Mess by Dame Quentin Bryce, “you can have it all just not at the same time.”
“That all depends on our definition of all.” was my reply.
Having It All
The top Google definition of having it all is, “finding success in your career, raising a child, maintaining solid relationships & still finding time to take care of yourself & look & feel your best.”
I’m exhausted just reading it.
Oh and the definition of “all” is “everything without exception”. Apparently, we can have everything without exception. Google, one must be forgiven for thinking you are officially setting up the human race for disappointment and failure.
The Beautiful Meaning of Truly Having It All
Today, I like to think of having it all as a state of fulfilment and contentment rather than a destination to be reached. Let’s call said destination Summit “Best”(Google’s words). If having it all is a destination, what happens when you reach it?
You’re 38 & life is over? You’ll never have it all again?
Crikey, that would be a sorry tale.
Each of us has license to write our own definition of having it all. One that matters only to us. It starts with understanding who we are and accepting our all is a fluid state that will constantly evolve with changing circumstance.
While in the past we could look at life in bigger chunks. Today, it feels like we all have to chunk it right down. Many of us not being able to look much further than the 24 hours ahead or the end of the home schooling day.
And that is OK.
Intentionally keeping our inner happiness glow alight today, seems more important than ever.
As Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi articulates beautifully in his bestseller Flow, happiness doesn’t happen.
“Happiness, in fact, is a condition that must be prepared for, cultivated, & defended privately by each person. People who learn to control inner experience will be able to determine the quality of happiness in their lives, which is as close as any of us can come to happiness.”
The only ones who can judge our happiness, is us. And what makes us happy today, might not next week. It’s a state that depends on what those three tiny, yet mighty words mean at the time.
Today, we need a quick check in that allows us to dance with the undulating times and nourish our state of happiness from one day to the next.
Even if it means our cup is only a quarter full, that is always better than three quarters empty.
Here are 8 questions that I use – sometimes monthly. Other times, weekly. Heck, some days its hourly if I’m honest to figure out what having it all actually means for me.
- What is most important to me and how will I prioritise that today?
- What do I need to deliver on today and are those expectations realistic?
- What can I be curious about today?
- How would I like to feel by the end of today?
- What do I need to do to ensure I feel that way?
- What is one small thing I can do today to progress towards a bigger picture goal that’s on the back burner?
- Who can I connect with that is important to me today?
- How will I nourish my values today?
I wrote in My Beautiful Mess how my happiness used to be shallow and expensive, all because I didn’t understand the person I was. I hadn’t delved into my layers to understand what made me happy or what I stood for once the job title was removed & the accolades stopped flowing. I didn’t understand I was enough.
Since then, I’ve learnt happiness is inexpensive and reliant on a few treasured gifts from me.
Kindness to soften my heart, my eyes and my smile. An honest eye to see through the filters. Patience for the pace that is out of my control. Self-compassion for any bruised hopes. Curiosity to explore because that is what will keep me moving forward, regardless of the pace. And lastly, gratitude.
Gratitude for waking up in the morning with a smile because sometimes Google, that really is having it all.