If you were on the internet at all in the past two weeks, it would have been hard for you to miss the links to Atlantic’s cover article, Why Women Still Can’t Have It All by Anne-Marie Slaughter. The bold claim in the title piqued my curiosity, and I started to read. My unease grew with the page count, mostly because the ‘all’ described in the essay has nothing to do with my life. I don’t want children. I don’t want a high-power job running either a country or a company. I don’t want advanced graduate degrees. I don’t want to need a job that pays me enough to hire a nanny to step in when I’m too busy running whatever it is I’m supposed to want to run. I don’t want Slaughter’s ‘all,’ at all.
I celebrated my thirty-fifth birthday at the end of June. I’m old enough to have had dreams that didn’t come to fruition. Old enough to know that there are hard limits to what can be attained by me, given who I am. Old enough to find joy, rather than despair, in those facts.
I lead a simple life. I like to go to sleep early. I like to stay in at night. I like to eat lunch at a picnic table. I like to walk my dogs. I like to talk with my husband, laugh with him, sit quietly with him. I like having a place to think. I like day dreaming. I like to travel, but not too often, because I love being at home. When people ask me if I’m doing anything exciting on the weekend, I always say no. I don’t need to do something special or ‘exciting’ because I’m fulfilled by what I have. I love the way I spend my days. Not one of these factors was part the ‘all’ described in the Atlantic, but they are each essential to my sense of fulfillment, my sense of ‘all.’
I don’t run a company or country. I don’t even lead a team. If I change the world, it won’t be in the boardroom or public office; it’ll be one human kindness at a time.
I’m not rich, but my bills are paid. I don’t frequent fancy restaurants, but I always have food. I don’t drive a luxury car, but I have a reliable vehicle with working AC. I have a book budget, but with indies producing quality books for reasonable prices, I haven’t even come close to my limit.
Writing is an important part of who I am. It is a huge piece of my ‘all,’ an integral act of devotion to the mystery of being. I could lose almost everything, but if I keep my freedom and ability to write, I will thrive.
Sure, there are always nicer things, fancier places, more ornate houses on less run-down roads. But the boring, simple fact is that I’m happy with the ‘all’ that I have, even if it doesn’t measure up to someone else’s estimation of what ‘all’ includes. This is a powerful, freeing realization.
Aniko Gets Kreativ III: I
can have it all.
I’ve fallen behind in my Kreativ Blogger nominations, but I’m exited to tell you about my newest, wonderful nominee! Jacquelyn Smith is a fantasy author. Her blog , Wayward Scribe, is entertaining, encouraging, and responsive to commenters. Please join me in congratulating Jacquelyn! If you read fantasy, I’m sure she’d be thrilled if you joined The Tribe of the Wayward Scribe to receive newsletters & a free download of one of her stories!
Until next time, jazz hands! xoxo