Can we really have it all?

 

Today I was chatting with some amazing ladies on Facebook and saw a comment that resonated with me so much that I wanted to share it with you.

We were talking about “Having It All”.  Is it really possible to have it all? A career, a family, all the things; everything we dreamed of… without sacrificing ourselves and our quality of life to have it?  Some of the ladies were saying it IS possible.  Just not at all at once.  That sometimes we need to prioritize for what we want at different times of our life… so by spacing it out, we can have it all.

My friend “K” said that she previously lived in an area where it appeared (on the surface) that everyone had it all.  But once you took a closer look, you saw that there were massive amounts of debt, bad marriages, depression, and more.  Then she said this:

“I wish instead of thinking we deserve to have it all “cause you’re worth it”, we would be happy to say “I have enough” or “I am happy” or “my quality of life is fantastic”…I wish we could go back to living more genuinely and simply.”

 

Yep. I love that. I had to read it a few times before it really sunk in how much that phrase was very fitting for my life.

I have been struggling with the “have it all” mentality for years.  I grew up in a family that didn’t have much money.  Looking back now, I’m thankful for it.  I learned how to watch what I spent, what it meant to work hard to earn the things I wanted, and other valuable life lessons.  But as a young adult, I felt this constant need to have all the things that I saw everyone else having.  I was (and to an extent still am) a shopper who got a lot of joy in having “things”.  When I think about the time I spent working for the money I spent on stuff that didn’t matter, it makes me a bit sad.  I always found something else that I wanted and was never truly content.

Lately in our home, we have been talking about priorities for our lives.  For both my husband and I, our priority is to both work from home, even if it means less money. To raise children (that we hopefully will have someday) with both parents around all of the time. Even if it means less money and less “stuff”.  This blog was started years ago because we recognized on a small level that we needed to slow down, simplify, and have a better quality of life.

It is not easy to take a look at our lives and say “Yes, this is our life and we are happy with it”.  As someone who has struggled with repeat pregnancy loss for several years, my biggest challenge is to live my life being thankful for the “NOW” rather than waiting until the day we have children.  Life will not start then… life is happening now, even while we wait.  Infertility is a very lonely journey and to realize that I could be happy now, even with our struggles, was very much a huge success for me.

We’ve been intrigued by the small house movement and living simply – we have even started getting rid of a lot of excessive clothing and things around the house. We’re trying to learn creative ways to have a simple life with less money where we don’t feel like we are sacrificing on the things that are important for us. For us, having it all seems to mean that we have time with each other, freedom to pursue interests without being a slave to a rigidly structured job/career, and to not be weighed down by possessions.   Are we at our happy place in these pursuits?  No, not yet.  But we’re making progress.

I don’t think I’ve ever been happier with the path my life is going. Our baby steps have yielded a lot of clarity about the direction we are moving in;  it has helped shape the path we are taking.

What do you struggle with?  What does “having it all” look like for you?  Do you also feel the call for a simpler, more genuine life?

February 25, 2014 - 12:27 pm

Katrina - BEAUTIFULLY written! Living in the now is so tough, but SO worth it =)

February 25, 2014 - 2:45 pm

Mandie - What a great post, thank you for sharing your thoughts!

I am a little bit behind you in the process, but I have made the same realizations over the past few years. I grew up the opposite way that you did- we had EVERYTHING. Anything we wanted, really. And it ended the same way- a family in debt, rich in material things, but we drifted further away from one another with each passing year.

Over the past 15 months my husband & I have been shifting our focus to our spiritual life and have spent more of our time pursuing Bible study. This has opened my eyes to a wealth of ideas and truths, including the same things you’ve mentioned here- that it doesn’t take STUFF to be happy. That there is joy and excitement to be found in making the most of what we have, giving things away, purging the “stuff” and the clutter, cooking at home, organizing, growing a garden, etc. It has really made me aware of the blessing we have because we both work from home (for right now). I have renewed my love for creating things, found myself in the kitchen, and now instead of spending an afternoon at the mall I find myself doing small things around our home to make it more comfortable, efficient, and uncluttered.

Another idea I recently came across is that “freedom” lives in simplicity such as you’re describing. Charging anything you want to a credit card or buying things in lieu of saving money for your future or emergencies just leaves you enslaved by the almighty dollar, paying interest for years on stuff you didn’t need in the first place. Putting effort into presenting a specific image to the world enslaves you to the judgments of others who don’t matter. What do I care what my peers or the world at large thinks of my appearance, my career, my decisions? It matters so much more to me that my husband sees me for who I am, and loves me for doing the best I can to be better every day.

I know you guys have struggled through this journey to a family, but I cannot help but be so proud of you for the leaps and bounds you’ve made, and grateful for the inspiration you give me and others through your blog and your wonderful friendship. You’ll both be the most amazing parents, I know it. <3

February 25, 2014 - 5:30 pm

Courtney - Awesome posting! Freedom from debt is something that Nate and I are really focusing on which means living without things others around us have and going out for special occasions only!

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