Life, love, family and career – while doing preliminary research for this month’s column, I asked both my single and married girlfriends as well as colleagues, if they thought it was possible to be totally and completely satisfied in every area of their life all at the same time. The answers that I got both amused and bewildered me. On the surface, yes. A woman can choose to have a fulfilling and/or ambitious career, a family comprised of a husband/wife/partner/kids whom she loves and who love her back, freedom and flexibility to follow her passions, the independence to not be bound to rely on anyone for anything. So I guess it’s just that simple then. Or is it? Not every woman wants to go to work every day, and not every woman wants to not work and stay home with the kids. Not every woman wants to be the glue that holds a family together, and not every woman wants to be so independent that she lives a perpetual bachelorette’s lifestyle and friends ask when she will finally “settle down”.
Does every woman want all of these things either all at once, in pieces, or not at all – and more importantly, does society make her feel like she should?
As one friend so eloquently put it “I see other women who seem so satisfied in their lives and it always feels like they have it more together that I do”. Is this really the case or most of the time are we doing the best that we can to keep the scales balanced and maybe everything is not as peachy as it seems? As I ponder this thought I quickly realized that this train of thought can begin to crack the mask of self-confidence that can only crumble further after an introspective glass or two of red wine – a chain reaction of taking a deeper and somewhat suspicious look under the surface into one’s own life and personal happiness can lead a girl to wonder: does anyone really “have it all”, or will there always be some facet of my life that I can’t be as successful in as I wish that I could be?
Through asking questions of several of my trusted girlfriends, I started to come to the alarming conclusion that maybe a work/life balance is harder than it looks, and that ultimately one area of a woman’s life will have to be sacrificed for another? Does having a successful career mean that a woman can’t have a successful personal life? Does having a family mean that you ultimately must give up some part of your professional identity or drive? Luckily I snapped out of this line of thinking really quick.
The final conclusion is the same as it’s always been and I was relieved to confirm that I had held true to my original belief. Women in today’s society have room in their lives for all the things that they desire, and should be afforded the freedom to embrace what makes them happy. This is different for everyone and through the exercise of self-exploration and discovery, the balance will hopefully be struck – as every woman’s personal needs, goals, and desires are unique. As women, one can argue that society places immense pressure on us to be everything to everyone which is logistically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually just not possible. Finding your comfort point of the give and take can be a challenge, but when you really start to listen to and allow yourself to be guided by that inner voice, only then can you finally find the centered place in your life to truly “have it all”.
What does the concept of “having it all” mean for you? Is this even something that you want or is important to you?
Jesamyn Rayman is a professional Recruiter, Blogger, and Style-Obsessed Philanthropist who believes in being of service to her community – she achieves this through networking, fundraising, and remaining passionate about issues close to her heart…social justice, humanitarian concerns, and all other causes relating to the greater good of Indianapolis! She holds a B.A. in Psychology and currently serves as Advocacy Committee Chair on the Ronald McDonald House of Indiana Young Professionals Board. Jesamyn returned home to Indiana in 2009 and is currently loving life in downtown Indy. Contact Jesamyn at: email@example.com + @jesamynrayman