Frankly? No! You cannot get everything. Period.
If this straightforward fact sinks into our minds at the right time in life, happiness would not be so difficult to attain. "Having it all" was a phrase that got removed from the dictionary of my life ages ago when I realized that a massive hammer of practical reality exists to beat down most of the big wishes, dreams, and desires of a woman's heart - like mine. So, as practical reality trimmed down my dreams and expectations for me, I trimmed my definition of "having it all" to stay happy.
Suppose the ship of life is sinking and you need to jump off into the ocean of reality to save your life. What would you hold on to? What would be the things you wish to salvage? And what can you allow to lose? There is always the trunk full of expectations, but what are the chances of you surviving out there with all that weight? That is my disaster recovery plan. I keep "Everything" just big enough to fit my little jar of expectations. Through the biggest of storms, this little jar manages to stay afloat. When happiness is achievable, it is possible. To me, The Abbie, having everything means a life of customized happiness that I win after cutting down my list of expectations and objectives. Of course, there are big demons of disappointment and depression hovering overhead when you choose such altercations of happiness. But a pirated copy of happiness works almost as good.
This babble is not a rant. Trimming down expectations and objectives certainly does not mean that you have given up. I am no quitter, but I do not hang on to relationships, dreams, goals, and plans that become too toxic for me to handle. The key is to keep trying for something until the struggle begins to corrode you in a serious way. A couple of decisive occasions come up in our lives when our struggles become impossible. I think of these like weights that need to be shed to avoid your ship from sinking. I gave up the idea of med school when I realized that my lifestyle and circumstances were not fit for a doctor's life. Then I opted for online MBA, and gave up the idea of on-campus studies, when my presence was required at home to manage the household and attend to others' needs. I was altering my dreams and expectations in each instance. It may sound pretty disappointing; to a certain extent it was, but when I trimmed down my expectations and created new goals suited to the new reality I was happy. Then there was always a latent wish to work some desk job or teach a class of university students. But I let those slip as I allowed my circumstances to shape my reality for me. Currently, I am letting the idea of marriage slip and thinking of alternatives to live a happy single' life. This is shaped by the serious lack of good prospects for marriage, frauds and deceptions of arranged marriage, and the entire saga of drama and chaos associated with the entire concept.
There will always be a set of judgmental people around who will object to the idea of compromise and customization of happiness. I do not blame them. For some folks it is about getting everything by hook or by crook. Such folks have crossed my path often to judge my way of customizing happiness. They always seem to have a list of "all that you should have", and they will keep waving that list like a flag each time you stumble, or fall, to remind you that you have still not attained the summit of perfection. Remember that everybody cannot climb Everest, but each person is in the process of climbing an Everest of their own. So, when a career-focused girl said that girls like me are "domesticated" because we are family-oriented, I was taken aback. Next, a distant uncle pointed to a painting in his dining room, of a rural woman churning butter, and said that was me - studying from home, working from home, and everything from home. Whoa! Clearly, he thought I did not "have it all". I was not out there working the white collar job, I was not voicing my 4.0 GPA knowledge at AGMs, and I was certainly not socializing with the social butterflies at corporate after-parties. I thought over his judgement for a very long time. But before I could loose my sleep over it, I reminded myself that I was living a customized version of happiness. It is not possible for me to have all that he thought I should have because this is my version of reality.
Everything is possible, even going to the moon, but when you start seeing the obvious impossibility for yourself; under specific circumstances, it is okay to change your criteria. I am willing to step out of my comfort zone every once in a while but it does not come at the cost of being foolishly blind to my strengths and weaknesses. A couple of decisive occasions come up in our lives when our struggles become impossible. I think of these like weights that need to be shed to avoid your ship from sinking. It is super important to remind yourself that you cannot have all that everybody else has. So when you cannot salvage everything, keep that jar handy and save what you can.