What It Really Means To “Have It All”

These days, I see a lot of people who love telling women that they can’t “have it all.”

Wherever there is a woman who has both a family and a career, there’s a crowd of people who would jump at the opportunity to question how she might be failing either part of her life when she’s occupied with the other.

By having it all, they typically mean having all that life has to offer: A satisfying career, a family, beautiful home, nice car, thriving social life, and enough money in your pocket to pick up and go on vacation whenever you want.

But does having it all have to mean doing it all?

Somewhere along the way, we’ve come under the impression that ambitious women are trying to have everything possible, do everything possible, and basically be Superwoman.

Who really wants that? I know I don’t. Sounds exhausting.

I was never concerned with having it all, at least not in the Superwoman way. I’ve always just aimed for having what I desire most, and what I desire most isn’t going to be the same as everyone else.

I don’t need a huge house or an expensive car. I have a car that runs and a small apartment about a half mile away from the beach on the east coast. I’m content with that as well as I am about not having kids at this time in my life. Heck, I’d be happy if my guy and I were location independent, living out of a small RV by ourselves – sounds great to me.

That’s not going to be everyone’s dream, and that’s just fine.

The way I see it, when we focus less on having everything possible and instead focus on having only what we truly want, then in that way, yes we can absolutely have it all.

That’s why I’ve found it important to give myself enough time and space to think about what I really need out of life. I’ve learned that there are just some things a lot of people want that I personally don’t care for.  But to do that, I’ve had to stop listening to outside sources so much.

Don’t let anyone tell you specifics about what you “should” do. You get to decide that by yourself.

And if you do truly want to balance a career and family or any other bells and whistles that come with the typical idea of having it all, then go for it. Along the way, you might encounter people who will offer their $.02 about how you should manage your own life, but who says you need to explain yourself to them or care what they say? Your life is your business, and their opinion is their business.

Our desires and choices are all our own.

— Ash Pariseau


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Ash Pariseau
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Comments 4

  • “have it all” means “stuff” to a lot of people. my Ex is like that. her stuff is more important to her than pretty much everyone around her. and yet she’s still not happy.

    stuff is burdensome, crippling, overwhelming, and doesnt lead to happiness.

    i’ve thrown away almost everything from my past. including awards from the us attorney general, and ambassadors from other countries, and it has been a relief!

    it’s just stuff.

    “having it all”, for me, is just having peace of mind knowing that i’ve done my best for others when i can. even when its not been appreciated.

    • “having it all”, for me, is just having peace of mind knowing that i’ve done my best for others when i can. even when its not been appreciated.”

      You have a good heart.

      Sounds like you have a minimalist worldview. I admire people like that and try to be more like that myself. When I moved, I dared myself to be brave and throw out a lot of unnecessary things.

  • This is very true. You decide and no one else what is ‘all’ for you, not an image or an idea that the marketing and media and propaganda sells to you. Women often get tricked into the ‘feminist ideal’ which suits only some women and not most. Then they trip themselves over trying attain something basically attainable only with great, heavy sacrifices that for some, just saps the joy out of their life.
    You decide what is ‘all’, all that you want and no one else.

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