I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially because I just came out of a period in my life where I felt like I did have it all and… it kind of sucked.

Picture this: early 2022, and despite the craziness of the previous two years, I had arrived at a place in my life with a dream job, a support system, a wonderful family, creative fulfillment, financial stability, and real, actual progress toward goals for the future that once felt like nothing more than the most extravagant fantasies. I looked around at my life at that moment and realized that despite the fullness of it, I felt a profound loneliness. And I began to wonder if it was not despite, but because of that fullness.

I spent so much of my life in pursuit of this idyllic existence – and to be clear, it didn’t come easy, I worked every second – that when I arrived, I found I didn’t have the time to really experience it. It was difficult to have moments of meaningful connection and depth when I was constantly in maintenance mode. And to be honest, it was (is) really lonely. I spent so much time and energy perpetuating this “all” that I wasn’t even part of my own life anymore -- I was just the administrator of it.

Our world is full of frustrating mixed messaging: we’re told to be ambitious, to achieve, that the sky's the limit. We’re told we can have it all, that we just have to work very, very hard, but it’s worth it. But they don’t tell you what happens once you arrive. There’s no guide at the top of that mythic mountain saying, “You’ve done it! Now you can just chill and enjoy all this. Here’s a carrot (or carat, for the jewelry crowd) to enjoy while you relax.”

We’re also told that the journey is the reward. After years of scoffing at that idea, of feeling like it was the opposing force to “having it all,” I finally began to understand: it’s somewhere in the middle. My life has changed from that period. I’ve gained and lost since then – and weirdly, in no longer having it all, I’ve been able to assuage that constant buzzing in my head, and my heart, that clamors for more. 

But not always, and not completely. I carry it with me, this feeling I can’t shake – this feeling that whispers to me – that maybe I can do everything, that maybe I’m just not doing it in the right order, or under the right moon, or with the right people. That one day, I’ll find that magic balance and I’ll know true fulfillment. 

Until then, I puzzle out the bits of life that still elude me, and treasure the moments – sometimes mere seconds – when I feel like maybe I’ve figured it out. It’s always short-lived, but it’s enough to keep trying.

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