Our society often encourages the pursuit of success, and goals, and achievement, and things and stuff.
There is a desire to work hard so that you can “have it all.”
We have opportunities that many generations before us did not – to work, and build a career, and travel, and have a family, and be independent.
But what happens when trying to “have it all” just does not feel good any more.
What Society Wants
While technology has opened up a global platform of opportunity, we still live in a society stuck in antiquated ideals, rules and expectations – that perhaps don’t work so well any more.
As a child, you’re expected to work hard, and get good grades, and conform to the established school system.
Upon graduation, that hard work is forgotten in place of the course you will study, the university you applied for.
And then the cycle of grades and expectation begins again.
Until you apply for jobs – and the question of a salary, and company prestige arises.
As that gets handled you have to consider the car you drive, the house and suburb you live in – which subjectively reflect your personal level of success to the world.
Once established in your career, there’s an expectation to find the right partner, and have babies.
If you’re single and in your 30’s, there’s that look.
If you don’t have kids, then people wonder why. What’s wrong with you?
This is the path that society lays for us.
The question is…do you choose it?
Having It All
In our society, “having it all” means having the good job, and prestige and status… and security… and money… to buy the big house and the car and the expensive clothes to wear to those important meetings.
“Having it all” means getting married, and a glamorous wedding… and having children, and sending them to the best schools… so they can do it all over again.
“Having it all” means working your arse off until you retire when you can enjoy it all.
But What If You Don’t Want It All?
What if you wake up one day and decide you don’t want it?
What if the degree you studied so hard for (and are still paying off) is nothing like the job you actually do and the career that was promised… and you hate it?
What if getting up to go to work every day so that you can have the security and income to pay off your house and your car and your clothes and your stuff… makes you feel trapped, and stuck, and selling your soul.
What if you worked so hard that you never had time for a real relationship?
Or worse, you settled for one that isn’t real love?
What if you never had time for kids, or feel the pressure, or had them, and it wasn’t what you really wanted?
What If Having It All Sucks?
What if pursuing those things that society says will make you happy, and will give you a fulfilled life, is sucking you dry, and you don’t want it any more?
Or you want it in a different way?
A way that feels good.
At this point, there are two options – keep going the way you’re going and pretend that you want it all OR figure out what you really want, and go for that.
The problem with admitting that the quest to have it all is just not working for you any more, is that, this makes society uncomfortable.
This makes all the people who have bought into the myth of having it all and built their lives around it uncomfortable. It confronts them, and makes them question their own life choices.
So they might tell you you’re wrong.
They might tell you that you’re making a bad decision. That you’ve invested so much time and effort into your education/ career/ relationship/ house (you fill in the blank) that it would be a shame to give it up.
They might push you to keep going, and tell you that once you have that education/ career/ relationship/ house (you fill in the blank) things will be OK. You’ll feel better.
And so you keep going, striving to have it all, hoping that the next thing, the next achievement, the next success, will make you feel better.
When None Of This Is YOU
If you keep listening to other people about your choices, and what you “should” be doing, and what society deems to be the “right” thing, and what feels safe, you’ll stay on the same path, constantly pursuing the quest to have it all.
If you listen to your self, you might realise that some of the things society tells you is good and right, aren’t for you.
People might tell you you’re wrong, and you might start to question your self – this is just other people striving to justify their own decisions as good and right.
You might have to make some new choices, and let go of people or things you’ve worked really hard for.
There might be a time where you know what you DON’T want but you don’t know what you DO want, where you feel a little disoriented or lost.
You Might Have To Get Uncomfortable
When you realise that the “all” you’ve been chasing is not actually yours, things will have to change.
You’re going to have to drop all the ideas and ideals of who you thought you were and what you thought you wanted in order to discover who you actually are and what you do want.
You’re going to have to accept that you aren’t going to follow a “normal” path, that you might be different to the general population, and that at times, you might feel completely alone.
And that all of that is perfectly OK.
Because the alternative is continuing to try to “have it all” in the hope that one day it will be enough.
And to date, that really isn’t working.
The truth is… you CAN have it all, you can have every thing you desire, you just have to figure out which “all” it is that you want.
The first step is making the choice to find out.