Can we have it all?

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to ‘have it all’. This, of course, might mean a lot of different things to different people, and it might change at different points in life. Having it all might mean a thriving career, a healthy marriage and children, a healthy body, a stable mind, or all of the above. Whatever it is, it’s individualised and changeable.

I think most of us want it all, but we aren’t even sure what ‘it’ is. I don’t know how high I should set the bar for success, or whether I should set a bar at all. The idea of having it all requires you to be vulnerable and to recognise the things you want to have and achieve. Consequently, that means accepting that those things might not happen. Then what? By necessity, the pursuit of joy and success means recognising the very real possibility of sadness and failure, and that’s scary to think about.

On the other hand, maybe the idea of ‘having it all’ is a myth. Maybe there’s no conceivable version of reality where we can thrive in all areas of life simultaneously. Or maybe we’re just thinking about it all wrong. Maybe having it all actually means having some of what we want and letting that fill us up. Maybe it means acknowledging that having ‘all’ of something requires some arbitrary measurement of what ‘all’ even is. Maybe it’s just about living a life of intention and accepting that, with that, there are equal parts joy, success, sadness, and failure, and that’s the best we can hope for.

Information on finding meaning can be found at the University of Adelaide Wellbeing Hub.

Tagged in Wellbeing, Student life, mental health, self-care, What messes with your head