How many of us are living a half life?
I stumbled across this website a while ago where a question was posted (it had something to do with being fulfilled) and I was dumbfounded at all the responses from mostly women. They were embroiled in relationships they didn’t want. They regretted not spending enough time with their kids. They had extra weight they didn’t want. For those that had lost weight they were busy feeling guilty about it because their friends no longer wanted to stay friends. The ones that were stay at home moms wanted to get a job and the moms with jobs wanted more time at home. Some wished they wrote in journals. Others wished they rested more. It seemed they were living half a life.
That got me thinking. Is it a half life because we make it that way? Are we telling ourselves that what we’re doing is never good enough? We don’t say it out loud. We all know better than to say things like, I’m not good enough. But in a quieter back-of-your mind sort of way are we putting undue pressure on ourselves to do it all or do we genuinely want a different life? Would we be fulfilled if we wrote in journals more, got the job we dreamt of, and spent more time with our kids? Or would we still be unfulfilled hoping for something better to come along? That whole ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ syndrome.
What if we can’t have it all? I know many women will say you can have it all – just not all at once. Well, what if you can’t have it all…. ever? Let the question sink in a little before you shout, “How can you say that and that is sooo not true!” What if it is true and what if that doesn’t cause despair like you think it should. See, I’ve been asking myself this question. I’ve been mulling it over and just when my heart is sinking over that thought my heart comes back up because maybe this isn’t going to devastate me the way I thought it would. Maybe I can’t have it all…. ever because I’ve never properly defined what having it all means.
Having it all, the way I’ve interpreted it, means having a degree, having a job that you love, being that hands on mom that you know you can be, traveling to exotic destinations, being seriously involved in charity work, and fitting in a trip to some part of Africa where you make a difference. I am this cultured woman of the world that follows her every whim, every longing and loves every part of her life. She’s that eat, pray, love woman. No, I haven’t read the book, but I hear this is the latest woman we should model ourselves after.
This is who I am: I don’t have a degree – not even close, I am a hands on mom, but I’m also a hands off mom when I want some time to myself, I have traveled but not recently – I’ve only been as far as Whistler in the last six months. I haven’t been to any part of Africa, but I have donated money to an organization that helps women in the Congo. I am not a cultured woman about the world. I like TV and I like my coffee. I do pray. I don’t pursue everything I want. I love my family and friends and while I have people I adore in my life I can still feel alone. And I think that whole eat, pray, love thing is overrated.
So, am I living a settled half life? What if I’m okay with this and my life should only be considered a half life if I deem it to be.
What we think is a ho-hum life may be a great life. If you want to write in your journal do it. If you don’t, then don’t, and don’t feel bad that you didn’t. If you are in relationships that aren’t good for you remember life is too short to waste time with people you sorta hate. You’ll always feel bad about not doing enough with your kids…. welcome to parenthood. I’m not saying that there isn’t more to life or that it’s not important to pursue your dreams or, you know, follow your bliss. I’m just saying that having it all might not be as exciting as it seems. Perhaps we are living a half life because we have let ourselves believe that it is. What if you’re already living this amazing life and you just haven’t discovered it yet?
I LOVE everything about back to school. A fresh box of crayons, newly sharpened pencils, backpacks, the crisp fall air (when it gets here), sweaters, the good apples, shopping, watching moms and their tween daughters shop – the daughters with tear-stained faces over some shopping frustration. It’s cruel, but I laugh every time I witness this.
It won’t be long before back to school will be official. Can’t wait!