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WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO HAVE IT ALL?

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by Angie G.

woman on sofaA single friend of mine recently shared an experience in which a well-meaning sister friend and a family member barraged her with questions about getting married and having children. One is married, and both are new moms, so I suppose they felt that it was their duty to stage an intervention in order to save her from a bleak future of spinsterhood. They went all in- telling her that it’s time for her to make a move and that she’s getting older and she’s going to regret not getting married and having children. Blah, blah, blah.  Although she was able to handle this conversation with grace, she was actually a bit confused by the sudden barrage of questions and accusations cleverly disguised as concern. She had never expressed dissatisfaction with her personal life, so she was more than a bit curious as to why they would want her to feel anxious and fearful about her choices. Something just didn’t feel right. This wasn’t about love or sisterhood.This was clearly about something else.

It’s always been a theory of mine that it’s best to be wary of those who insist that you join their club (whatever that club might be). As the saying goes, “there is safety in numbers” and many seek to increase membership in order to increase their own comfort. They want their choices to be affirmed. They want to be “right.”

And what is it that they want to be right about? In this case, it is the story that in order for a woman to have it all, she must have a husband and/or children and without them, something is missing. But is that really so? The truth is that many of us have probably never given any real thought to it. We have simply accepted it as fact. And although we may create wonderful and fulfilling lives for ourselves, there is still the underlying belief that our single life is simply the “make do” stage or a prerequisite to the life we really want to live.

Holding this belief as being absolutely true has caused many of us to pursue a path in life that does not honor us. Particularly as it relates to marriage and family, many of us are more enthralled with the idea of it than we actually are with the reality. We strive to get there, lest we be left on the sidelines feeling like the little kid who was chosen last for the kickball team. But once we join the game, we might just realize that it isn’t necessarily the one that we want to play.

Of course, some of us are very clear about what we want. Marriage and family might be a deliberate choice for us and not a decision based on what others think we “should” do. But, there are some us who could really benefit from being more honest; honest about what really brings us joy, what really makes us feel good, and how we really imagine our lives to be if we could be bold enough to live in our own truths. We might be surprised at what we discover-that there are many possibilities for a life well-lived, and that there is more than one way for a woman to have it all.

“What’s left for you to do with your life?” they asked my friend. Her response made me smile. “I see myself onstage speaking and motivating women.  I see myself in the company of a man that I enjoy.  I see my life as being full and happy.”

Well, that sounds good to me.

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