Fifteen years ago, I collaborated with 5 incredible, accomplished South Florida women like me, who were working too hard and not working out enough. We were high-powered and giving too much to our kids and partners and anyone else who asked nicely (or didn’t even). We were all stressed out and feeling guilty for what we weren’t doing. Especially for ourselves. We even wrote a book about it, and got a huge advance from Harper Collins Publishing, because of its timeliness. They called us, “The Miami Bombshells.” Not because we were hot mamas, but because we dropped bombshells by sharing our truths about how challenging life had become with all we had on our plates.
The book was about how having it all isn’t having it all, at all.
How having enough should be enough. But, when we were being honest with ourselves and each other: it just wasn’t.
That was 2005, and the mainstream conversation around “women’s empowerment” was only beginning to re-emerge. Desperate Housewives was finishing its first season the week our book came out, and this was such a new, hot topic that we were invited to launch our book on the TODAY Show. After that segment aired, an onslaught of inquiries crashed our website, which we had built for a small following of women like us, probably in or connected to Miami. (Oops!)
Today, with even more digital noise sucking up our energy, and demands that at times seem completely unrealistic, it feels like our to-do lists have tripled in size. The use of antidepressants went up 64 percent (yes, 64 percent!) between 1999 and 2014.* And the suicide rate in this country is higher than it’s been in thirty years.**
So many people identify as being overwhelmed and sleep-deprived, that, as of last May, “burn-out” is actually a syndrome recognized by the World Health Organisation.***
What’s everybody so unhappy about, and when are we going to give ourselves a break?!
It’s no secret social media is making us feel less than. “Conscious uncoupling” is now a thing, reminding us that relationships take a lot more work than they used to. Technology has robbed our kids of social graces. Our parents are dying, which may be the natural order of things, but is devastating to us. And aging is now considered a bad thing?
Just typing this exhausts me.
It’s about time that we, as women, no matter our age, start putting up our hands to say STOP. We are who we are, we’re doing the best we can as we juggle all that life throws at us…and that has to be enough.
If it feels like I am speaking directly to you, it’s because I AM!
You — yes, YOU — you need to be accountable to all the obligations you’ve committed to, AND give yourself a break. Which really means that if you want to live the life of your dreams, you’re going to have to commit to things you won’t crave a break from!
Stop looking at what you’re NOT doing and start getting blown away by what you’ve already accomplished, and excited by what’s left to do.
Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Get off social media, where compulsive liars live, and start accepting the fact that you don’t need to go to Paris for the weekend to have a good life. (But if you want to, you CAN plan for how, and go, girl, go!) If you keep creating unrealistic pictures of the life you think you deserve but have commitments elsewhere that stand in the way of making that happen now, you’re going to create unnecessary despair for yourself.
You want France right now, but it’s not at all realistic to what life looks like today?
Here are two choices to connect you to a dream like that:
(1) Buy a slab of brie and a baguette, pick up bottle of Bordeaux and make a picnic at the park. Spotify has a channel called French Music oldies, and it’ll take you right back to the Moulin Rouge. Pretend you’re hanging in Tuileries Gardens outside the Louvre, and feed your Franco-phile fix for 25 bucks. Happy sometimes just takes a little creativity, and some gratitude.
(2) Make yourself a plan…in detail!…and reorganize your commitments so you can hold yourself to making that happen. Drop all that stands in the way, and here’s the kicker: get OK with the fallout of dropping the other commitments when you trade them for this one.
In other words, this month, I’m contending that, based on my own experiences and big dreams for YOU, you CAN have it all…just not at the same time. And understanding that — for real — is how you’ll feel enough.
In closing, per usual,I dare you to…
- Hold yourself back from doing that ONE MORE THING that could push you over the edge, even when you think it won’t.
- While trying this on for full-time wear, just for today, say NO to something that will free you up for an hour. (Be selfish. It’s 1 hour!)
- Take that time to indulge yourself and be proud of the new boundary you just built for yourself.
One day at a time my friend…that’s how change happens.
Okay, that’s enough! 😉 Would love to know what thoughts and actions this might inspire in you.
From the campfire & beyond,