A recent post about only buying five items of clothing a year got me thinking about how my idea of having it all has radically changed.
I recalled my lofty aspirations, like after leaving school early and telling my friends that I would run a massive company and change the world. Or my plan to become a politician and I would change the face of how the country I was living in was run. Oh, the folly of youth!
But that’s what I did back then. I had my ‘have it all plan’ and ticked the boxes for great health, a perfect job, a fabulous big old house, a fast, sporty car, a wonderful man and a whole raft of other nice to haves. I never thought about how I would balance all of these things with the adventure of life. Or that life isn’t sipping nectar and riding on pink unicorns in fairy frocks waving my magic wand…
And I confess that I had wardrobes full of clothes that I mostly kept for best and a shoe cupboard I called Imelda’s closet. Goodness me, how would I have survived committing to just five items of clothing per year?
I learned over the years that having it all is a myth. It is a myth in the sense of how we encounter someone with what seems like the perfect life, only to discover that it… is all a sham. Thank you, social media.
Only this morning, I was chatting to a neighbour and friend, and we both said how blessed we are to live in our tiny hamlet nestled in the hills, living a simpler life.
I no longer have an Imelda’s closet, and because I walk my dogs four times a day, I practically live in walking shoes. Most of my clothes are casual and practical because drool and dirt are not a good look on your best frock.
I also think the lockdown changed us all and our perspective of having it all because, let’s face it, most of us didn’t. I know I spent time reassessing what was important to me and letting go of those things that did not bring me joy. My whiteboard now has three words – creative, fun and meaningful. This is how I need my life to be.
I’ve undertaken a massive declutter. I asked do I love doing this, and does it bring me joy? For a large part, the answer was no.
I had thought that the path that I was on would give me everything I wanted, but sadly it didn’t give me what I needed. So I took a risk and stopped doing something I had dedicated my life to for over 13 years.
My vision board was wiped clean, and I dug deep – what did I really want, and what would give me my sense of having it all? BTW my vision board is still clean, but I am ready to start putting things on it. I needed reflection time and wanted it to be an honest reflection of me and my desires after decluttering rather than rushing into things.
Changing my perspective about having it all has also taught me about balance.
What Is Balance?
Balance is a range of things which are equally distributed. Imagine you are a tightrope walker. You need rope, a balancing pole and focus. You have the goal you are striving for (get to the other side) and the factors that shape the journey. Each factor becomes an input into delivering the result – namely, the goal.
Balance is a relationship; that is struck between all of these things. It is about how, when, why and where to put your attention, which part of the balancing act needs your focus, and what is the priority at any given time. Striking balances requires constant feedback from all of its factors. Communication, perspective and being in tune with conditions around them and you are key.
I have often needed but neglected to balance all the factors that would shape my journey and help me achieve my goals. Stepping back and reflecting has taught me to be more thoughtful about when and where to put my attention and which part of the balancing act needs my focus at any given time.
What I realised was that when I focused on creating balance, I did actually have it all – my version of having it all – my way. Who knew?
I have it all because everything I do is connected with my values, vision, passion and purpose. I’ve let the things that cause me grief go, and I can tell you it is liberating and scary.
When you are truly connected to who you are, doing what you love, you can have it all because you know what you want and aren’t trying to live up to some ideal set by anyone else.
But most importantly, has been looking around at what I have and knowing how grateful I am for all that I have.
Having It All Changes
Let’s go back in time. Can you remember striving for your first job, getting there, and thinking, mmm, where next? What is my next fabulous role, how much will I be paid, and what are the rewards? What can I buy with my dosh? I can. Then as life and priorities changed, you wanted different things – maybe great schools for the kids or pet-friendly hotels for the holidays. Eventually, life in the fast lane slows down. Then, perhaps you fancy disappearing into the sunset with your campervan for a year’s sabbatical.
When you look at it, having it all has always been a moving feast that changes as your life and needs change. You perhaps didn’t realise it before. I know I sort of did, but not really, until last year.
My advice is to declutter your life. One of the things I advise my clients to do is get rid of stuff so that when they stand in the field of opportunities, there isn’t any rubbish standing in the way of their desires.
Now that I have decluttered, I am ready to refocus my vision and my having it all equation. The last few years have changed me – again. I am sure it is the same for you.
There are always challenges. What would life be without a few awkward things thrown in, eh? So here are a few to ponder in no particular order and a few journal prompts to explore.
The Perception Of Having It All
Having it all is a challenge in itself, as society often pressures us to “have it all,” which may leave you feeling like you’ve fallen short. Redefine what “having it all” means to you by focusing on what brings you joy and fulfilment.
- What does “having it all” mean to me?
- How has my definition of “having it all” changed over time?
- What steps can I take to achieve my version of “having it all”?
Being Stuck In A Rut
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, whether in your career, relationships, or hobbies. Think about how you could reinvent yourself and try new things that excite and challenge you.
- In what areas of my life do I want to reinvent myself to get out of this rut?
- What steps can I take to create this change?
- How can I maintain this newfound excitement and passion in my life?
Balancing Responsibilities With The Desire For Fulfilment
Juggling responsibilities with personal aspirations can be daunting, leading to frustration and burnout. Prioritise your needs and set boundaries to create a balance that works for you.
- What responsibilities are currently taking up most of my time?
- How can I create more time for personal fulfilment?
- What boundaries can I set to help me achieve balance?
Thinking It’s Too Late
The belief that pursuing your dreams is too late can be disheartening and discouraging. Reframe your thinking and embrace the idea that it’s never too late to learn, grow, and pursue your passions.
- What dreams have I been putting off because I believe it’s too late?
- How can I challenge these beliefs and take steps towards my dreams?
- What stories or examples of others achieving their goals later in life inspire me?
Frozen Because Of Limiting Beliefs
Limiting beliefs can hold you back from reaching your full potential and experiencing true happiness. Identify and challenge these beliefs, replacing them with empowering thoughts and actions.
- What limiting beliefs are holding me back?
- How can I challenge and replace these beliefs with more empowering thoughts?
- What actions can I take to overcome these limiting beliefs?
Being Disconnected From Your Inner Wisdom
Over time, losing touch with your intuition and inner guidance is common. Prioritise self-reflection and self-care to reconnect with your inner wisdom. Start journaling.
- When have I experienced moments of strong intuition or inner guidance?
- What activities or practices help me feel more connected to my inner wisdom?
- How can I make self-reflection and self-care a regular part of my life?
Losing Sight Of Passions And Purpose
The demands of daily life can cause you to lose sight of your passions and purpose. Take time to explore your interests and reconnect with your passions, bringing your life a renewed sense of purpose. Grab this eBook and explore.
- What activities or hobbies once brought me joy and fulfilment?
- How can I incorporate these passions back into my life?
- What steps can I take to reignite my sense of purpose?
Unable To Let Go Of Old Patterns
Old patterns of behaviour can keep you stuck and prevent personal growth. Identify and release these patterns, allowing yourself to create new, healthier habits that support your growth and happiness.
- What old patterns or habits are holding me back?
- How can I replace these patterns with healthier, more supportive habits?
- What steps can I take to ensure these new habits become a permanent part of my life?
Stuck In Old Roles
As life changes, it can be difficult to relinquish old roles and embrace a new sense of self. Unfortunately, a lot of this is not believing in your self-worth. Reflect on your current roles and redefine your identity to align with your values and aspirations.
- What roles have defined me in the past, and how have they changed?
- How do I want to define myself moving forward?
- What steps can I take to cultivate this new identity?
Not Balancing Your Physical, Emotional, And Spiritual Needs
Neglecting any aspect of your well-being can lead to imbalance and dissatisfaction. Prioritise self-care and create a routine that nurtures your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Find things that you love to do. For example, create a morning routine that connects you to yourself and nature. Get out into nature more.
- What activities contribute to my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being?
- How can I create a self-care routine that addresses all aspects of my well-being?
- What barriers might I face in maintaining this routine, and how can I overcome them?
Steps To Having It All
Recognising and appreciating what you already have in your life can help shift your perspective on “having it all.” Cultivate an attitude of gratitude and celebrate the small victories and joys in your life. This approach can help you feel more content and fulfilled, even if you haven’t achieved everything you desire. The secret to having it all is knowing that you already do.
Focus On What Truly Matters
As time passes, you may find that what you once considered important no longer holds the same significance. Reflect on your values and prioritise aspects of your life that bring genuine happiness and fulfilment. Remember that success is not solely measured by material possessions or societal norms but by the quality of your relationships, personal growth, and well-being.
Balance And Moderation
We’ve talked about balance. As your idea of “having it all” changes, strive to maintain balance in all aspects of your life, including work, relationships, health, and personal growth. Pursue your goals with determination, but avoid excessive attachment to specific outcomes. Understand that sometimes, less is more, and moderation can lead to greater happiness and satisfaction.
Your definition of “having it all” will naturally shift as you grow and evolve. Embrace these changes and allow your goals and aspirations to evolve with you. Stay open to new experiences and opportunities, and be willing to let go of old dreams that no longer serve you.
Focus On Inner Peace
My fave. Ultimately, “having it all” is about finding contentment within yourself, regardless of external circumstances. Work on developing inner peace by practising mindfulness, self-reflection, and self-compassion. When you cultivate inner harmony, you’ll find that your external life aligns more closely with your desires and aspirations.
Be Flexible And Adaptable
Understand that the journey to “having it all” may not be linear or straightforward. Be prepared to adapt and reassess your goals and priorities as you encounter new experiences and challenges. Embracing a flexible mindset allows you to navigate life’s changes with grace and resilience.
So, here’s to already having it all.