We’re often told that having it all is an unrealistic, unattainable, and not to mention selfish, goal. Not only do I think this answer’s bullshit, I also find it insulting. Especially when it comes to the realm of careers. It’s something we strive for – “having it all” is pretty much the dumbed down basis of the American Dream – while simultaneously being thought of as just that, a mere dream. And not the kind seen in Disney movies. It’s right up there with Maslow’s theory of self-actualization.
As a semi-recent college grad, I’ve found myself thinking about the future more than ever. I’ve tried to stick with the go-with-the-flow attitude that’s gotten me through the past 23 years; it seems that very attitude has only grown to give me a newfound respect for my Prozac prescription. I’ve conquered the task of figuring out a general idea of what I’d like to do with the rest of my life. And after busting my ass with enough tears to fill Heinz Field, I’ve obtained a degree in which I’m not sure I know exactly what I want to do with. I know what I can or could do with it, a few options at least. I know that I love making things with my own two hands, I love fashion, I love writing, I just love anything creative. And I want to be able to do it all. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask of the world. That’s when my mind starts reeling with fear, apprehension, stress, panic, all of the above.
I’m the kind of chick who usually knows what she wants, but rather than going after it full force, will spend the next three or 8 months analyzing every aspect. So these last few months have been spent picking apart this scenario: actual work in the field of my degree, a love of that work, and an overwhelmingly nagging feeling that I need to do more. More. Ugh, that word sometimes.
After a long mental battle, I came to the conclusion that instead of wondering why I was feeling this way and how I could get rid of it ASAP, why not just run with it?
There are so many degrees, like graphic design, that offer a wide variety of different career opportunities. Yet most of us mundanely and inadvertently choose one area to stick with, when we hold a passion just the same for other areas. For some people this works and makes them happy. For others (aka myself) this leaves us feeling unfulfilled. Limiting yourself to one career when there are multiple talents and passions is the same as playing it safe, which is usually boring. That being said – our own doubts along with the stigma that “having it all” also means living in a fairy tale world are pretty half-assed excuses for holding back.
Two encouraging conversations and three weeks later and I’m feeling happier in my career now than I have in the past 7 months. I’m doing more hands-on projects (like these badass hand-painted plates), putting my degree to use, and making time for personal creative needs. Dare I say it – I feel like I have it all. I never said it was or will be easy. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Most of which I haven’t even begun to tackle myself. But everything begins with a belief in an idea, right? So believe that everything is possible and go for the unattainable.
Tricks for the Trade
If you’re up for the challenge, these aren’t holy grail secrets that will magically give you everything you desire (if you find those, please share). These 5 hints are meant to be kept in the back of your head, only to be remembered just when you’re ready to give up and become something a lot less stressful.
Time Management | You can’t want to do everything without budgeting the tiny 24 hrs we have in a day. Also, time management is pretty much key for any amount of success.
Customize | The beauty of “having it all” is that everyone’s perception is different. Define what “all” means to you and work towards that meaning. Update as your needs and wants change.
Think Small | It’s hard to explain this one, but it basically comes down to a spin on Ferris Bueller’s classic shower quote: take time to notice the little things that make you happy. Hobbies can become careers.
Expectations = Everything | Know your career expectations and stick to them. You can’t have it all without knowing what you want, and you can’t know what you want without expectations.
Expectations = Nothing | Expectations have limits. Know the limits, recognize them, and figure out a plan for when they hit you (extra hint: they absolutely will). People who want everything also like to push boundaries; there is a right and wrong time.
Note: If you’re a male reading this, there are instances in general life where you can’t, in fact, have your cake and eat it, too. Examples of these instances? Anytime we’ve (females) said the negative form in a statement during or after a fight/argument/disagreement. #sorrynotsorry We love you, though.