The title of this site is “Reality Check,” so I’d like to “reality check” something I recently read somewhere and to which I do hear mentioned a lot out “in the wild” of life. This, and another issue, had been buzzing around in my head all week.
Having it all.
What does that mean?
Can you really?
When I was in my twenties I tried to “have it all.” I was an Air Force officer, I began putting in serious, daily efforts in fiction writing (even took a Writer’s Digest correspondence course), and I did the following physical activities in a typically weekly cycle (certain activities, like skiing and road biking, were obviously seasonal, but I did run in the snow and cold and hiked as weather permitted): weight training (heavy!), martial arts (two styles), running, [road] biking, swimming, skiing, hiking, softball. I think that’s everything. And, for a period of time, I was getting four hours of sleep (I don’t recall how long I was doing this, but I did experiment with it; as I remember it, I did pretty good with it, just don’t recall for how long–and no, I don’t do that now). I had a resting heart rate in the 40s, was around 185/190 pounds at just under six feet.
I thought, yeah, man, I really can do this! If I keep this up, keep working out, I’ll be in superior shape in my later years and will look and feel and be better in my 40s+ than most people my age, and won’t tweak myself picking up a glass of water.
In short…I thought I could have it all.
You know what happened?
My joints started killing me.
Even in my twenties, my body couldn’t take it. Sure, it was fun, I had a blast, but I learned that in our physical existence, we have to make choices. In fact, I’d go so far as to say, that we’re not meant to “have it all.” We’re meant to make choices from the vast array of life experiences and focus in minute detail on that which we choose. Now, I do make the argument that in my belief of living multiple, simultaneous lives, there we can “have it all,” in that all the different versions of ourselves will make different decisions. That they will take the paths not traveled, the forks-in-the-road, not taken. And those decisions will lead to other decisions and choices undreamed of.
I also believe that those experiences bleed across our simultaneous lives to enrich the other lives, because, as I always love to say, all things are connected. Everything is tied to everything else. I also believe we can all see this in ourselves, if we look to our latent-but-not-use talents. Tangential interests. Daydreamed and nocturnally dreamed activities.
Do you have an interest in art, but are a Forest Ranger?
Does your vision correct to 20/10, but you’re myopic?
Are you a “natural” in the cockpit of a plane and unafraid when you lost altitude and the instructor pilot told you you better pull up?
Are you a Cubicle Warrior, but love the outdoors and find nature skills easy to learn and put into practice?
Look within yourselves and see what latent abilities, what likes and dislikes you secretly harbor and wonder about. They could very likely belong to another “Probable You,” running around out there this very minute…and day dreaming about you.
To be blunt, there is no physical way any of us can “have it all.” Let’s face it, we’d be God. We’re not God. Any idiot can tell you that by just turning on the TV. We are who we are, we’re here for whatever purpose, but within the Venn diagram of all this, we have to make decisions. We have to have some things, reject others.
We have to learn from our choices, live with our choices.
If you feel such a burning need to “have it all,” ask yourself…why? Do you understand the ramifications of such thinking? The damage it will do not only to your personal well-being and physical body, but also to your life and those in orbit around you? We all need time to recuperate, physically and mentally, and I don’t see a lot of that these days. I see a lot of literally violent, explosive behavior. Now, I’m no psychiatrist, but I would heavily wager that many of us are becoming so mentally stressed out, so pushed beyond the edge by the super-sized overloaded and the “have it all” society that we’re short circuiting.
So, I ask that we all aim for a “quality of life,” not a “have it all” attitude, factor in some down time, turn off the electronics, and save some activity for your Probably Yous.