One of the big lessons of 2013 for me seems to have been “You can’t have it all.” This might seem harsh, sad, or defeating at a first read. But I have to say I actually find this lesson to be freeing, empowering, and relieving. For the first time in my adult life I am neither in a career or striving for a career. The breathing space of the last three months has opened me to realizing that the myth of wonder woman having and doing it all is just that…a myth. At least for this woman.
It’s true, I am a recovering perfectionist. A perfectionist who isn’t focused as much on perfect details, spelling, or cleaning but perfection in terms of expectations of myself. I may need to cut myself slack in ways and places. But I also believe there’s a gift in this perfection…the gift of accepting and acting on…you can’t have it all. Perhaps I could keep fighting my own nature, and try to regularly repeat…”this is good enough; this is good enough.” But for me that mantra didn’t seem to do much more than get me up and on the hamster wheel daily. Until my unexpected sabbatical in the wilderness, I didn’t realize how divided I felt day and night. Until my unexpected sabbatical in the wilderness, I didn’t realize how much of the last three years were spent fighting my own nature to prove that I could in fact have it all. Until my unexpected sabbatical in the wilderness, I didn’t realize that in the world of blended family, time is gold. Nights, weekends, and holidays especially. That’s where forming family happens. The good, the bad, the irritating, the idiosyncratic. In my specific case, I didn’t fully realize how much career had prevented me from being present during these moments.
Much of the last three months have been grieving the loss of the myth “I can have it all.” Fighting with God, fighting with myself. Letting go of the myth that career and vocation are the same thing. As my family and I travel into 2014, I walk with anticipation into a new sense of self and vocation.