When we think of what it looks like to “have it all” in life, I often refer back to the vision I had of myself when I was a kid, where I thought I would be when I hit my mid-30s, and what that all would look like.
I saw myself living in Southern California with a nice two-story house and a couple of kids, paired with my wonderful husband and job that I loved. After all, that is exactly what my parents had and I wasn’t told that it wasn’t possible — so why not, right?
Unfortunately, I did not factor in how impossibly hard it is to make a living and own a home, especially in Southern California. I did not expect a lot of things, like dropping out of college and limiting my employment opportunities as well as other bizarre things as I got older, like the pandemic.
Although I am blessed with a wonderful family and comfortable place to live, it isn’t exactly the picture perfect vision I had for myself when I was younger. Does this make me a failure? Or has the vision of what we find successful changed due to our current world’s impossible circumstances?
What Does “Having It All” Really Look Like?
The only way to honestly answer this question is to reflect on what you value as successful. As much as I still have goals and dreams of giving my children a home they can grow up in, I also understand that they do not measure my love or success by how big our place is. They see both of their parents working hard every day to give them the best possible life we can, and I believe that when they are older, that is the part that will stick out the most.
I grew up in a two-story house with the perfect backyard, and I don’t remember as much about the home as the memories that were made inside it. As parents, we just want to give our children the best life possible, and we tend to measure that in what we own and what we provide for them.
With the current housing market situation, paired with just how expensive it is to live in Southern California, I try to give myself grace on the subject and realize that if it’s meant to be, it will happen one day. Until then, finding success in the fact that they have a safe place to grow up in and make wonderful memories is enough for me.
We do have this traditional mindset that more money equals more of an opportunity to show ourselves and the world that we have “made it.” I’ve seen a switch in thinking, due to our rapid evolution in personal/mental health awareness, where we have started to place more value on happiness and peace than material goods.
When I was a kid, there wasn’t much talk on placing any sort of real value on true happiness. There was a lot of talk about what the neighbors have and a “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. If you search hard enough, there are enough stories out there about people who own a lot of really nice things but feel very empty inside. If we simply started to switch our mindset to valuing our happiness as people, material items will not look so valuable.
“Having It All” In The Pandemic
I saw a big shift in priorities when the pandemic hit and we all were quarantined to our homes. When people were left to enjoy what they already owned and spend more time with the people they love, they realized that all the other luxuries we enjoy are not really that important. We valued the simpler things in life, and that was enough.
Once the world opened back up again, we were left to decide for ourselves how we were going to prioritize success in this new world. For me, success can no longer be found in how big my residence is or how many trips we take as a family. Of course, I will always have goals that are bigger than my capabilities, but if all I simply do is see my kids grow healthy and happy and blanketed in love, that’s where I see true success.
Did I wake up this morning with a perfectly clean house and go to bed with everything done on my list? No, but I managed to take time for myself, and that is success to me. It already feels like the pressure of the world could break us, so simply being kinder to ourselves should count as “having it all.”
Because what’s the point of having it all when you feel completely empty inside? It’s better to focus on successfully feeding your soul than showcasing to the world that you’ve “made it.”
The bottom line is, shoot for the stars. Have dreams that make you jump out of bed in the morning. But don’t measure your success on anything but the love you bring to others and the happiness you provide. Everything else is secondary.
Especially for the parents out there, I hope I helped. It’s hard enough being the “perfect parent” and we often feel guilty about things we shouldn’t feel guilty about. Know that your kids love you and see how hard you are working to provide them with the best life possible. Be sure to stop and take time to enjoy these moments before they are gone, because they’re only little once. Successful parenting, to a child, is all of the moments you spend with them and make them feel special. You’re doing great!
What does “having it all” look like for you and your family? Share your success stories with us in the comments below!
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