Thursday, February 18, 2010

Which Land is Your Land?

A popular commercial during my younger years depicted a woman who supposedly did it all. In part, she could "bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan." It led me and probably many other young women to believe that we could have and do it all - maybe we were even supposed to. And so we started trying then and continue today to attempt the nearly impossible. We work, we home, we children, we network, we church, we exercise, we carpool, we volunteer, we wife, we cook, we shop, we decide, we negotiate, we date, we friend, . . . the list is endless. We do as much as we can every day, not because we have to, but because we believe we can. And most of the time, we somehow seem to do a lot of it.

But sometimes in the midst of doing it all, we retreat into the world of "What If." What if we took that other job - would life be less work and headache? What if we had a child/more children/fewer children/no children - would life be better? What if we married that other guy/the guy I'm dating/no guy/that woman - would life be easier? What if I lost weight/exercised more/did yoga/became vegetarian - would life feel better? What if I made more money/worked fewer hours/had a job/stayed at home with no outside employment - would life be more rewarding? What if, what if, what if?

Life in "What If" becomes a black hole. There are no answers or solutions. We just can't help but wonder if life could be easier or better - if only.

So instead, maybe I'll travel to the world of "What Is." What Is is where I need to change my eating habits as opposed to What If I lost weight. One is a goal and one is a dream. What Is is where that I don't work outside my home as opposed to What If I were still teaching school. One gives me a planning tool to figure out what to do with my day and the other is sometimes wistful remembrances. What Is is that I have three grown children and What If is if I had had three more, or the three I have were triplets, or I had none of them at all. One is reality steeped in happy memories and daily adventures, and the other is a TLC series.

I'm not sure what "having it all" even means anymore. Maybe it means opportunities and choices to which we are entitled. Maybe it means trying something new or sticking with the old. Maybe it means having what we want and not what someone tells us we should want. Maye it means stopping sometimes and saying, "Enough." Maybe that's just it - having it all means we say what "all" really means.

By the way, I've looked on the map, and I found that "All" is smack dab in the middle of the Land of "What Is." Happy travels!
Things that make today great: Maribeth returning to boot camp; finding the right cord for the printer; post-boot camp drinks via Molly; "A" boarding passes on tomorrow's Southwest flight

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