When I was a passionate 18 year old, I was obsessed with the notion of
‘having it all’. I was ambitious, unstoppable and determined to have it all. You know, the idea that as a woman nothing should stop me from doing and achieving whatever I wanted. Nothing was going to stop me from climbing up that corporate ladder- not marriage, not children, not even the fact that I was a black woman haunted by societys negative stereotypes- I was going to have it all. At the time, having it all for me was centred around being a high-flying corporate woman who would travel the world while raising a family. By the age of 19, I had already started paving the way for the lifestyle I dreamed about until one day I stopped and asked myself; all what exactly?
As I have evolved on my journey into womanhood, I realised that things weren’t so black and white and life was a little more complex than I had imagined. Being a mother is the most pressured identity I had held, it was easy to get drawn into the many ideals and conform to whatever the world dictated I should do and be. As a strong-minded person, I hated the idea of being restricted to fitting into a small box and conform to the status quo. I always wanted to feel like I decided things for myself and not because it was in trend or what I was meant to do.
I started wondering what exactly “having it all” meant for me and realised that I define what “all” is for me. After some soul searching I realised that my definition of “all” was being self-fulfilled. In defining my “all”, I reflected on what was important to me and what it was that I valued. I also decide that since life is full of surprises, my “all” could evolve and be adjusted as needed. I knew all too well that the things that fulfilled me when I was new to motherhood no longer fulfilled me and that is okay.
The 3 things I have learnt about “having it all” is:
1. Only I can choose my “all”. My “all” is about what’s important to me.
2. “All” doesn’t have to be fixed and can be as flexible as I want it to be.
3. I can always change my mind.
I believe you can have it “all” too once you work out what it is your “all” is which will mean different things to each woman. Defining your “all” is about making choices and valuing the things that matter most to you. If you are not defining the things that matter most to you, other people will do so for you. Why live according to other people’s definitions and standards when you can carve out your own?
How do you define your “all”?