How to Have it All and Be Happy? Re-imagine “All.”
What’s the Latest Development?
Each celebrity or political fall from grace seems to be a lesson in which the figure of Icarus looms large. Or as writer Delia Ephron puts it, having it all is statistically impossible because “every single choice you make narrows your choices (the choices you might make in the future), rendering having it all impossible.” Typically defined, especially for women, as having a marriage, career, and children, having it all really means an unceasing desire for more. Translation: Unhappiness. Talking about your trifecta of happiness—marriage, career, and children—will make you shine at your high school reunion, and keep you chasing the kinds of dreams you had in high school.
What’s the Big Idea?
In other countries of the world, having it all means something distinctly less than the American version of having it all. It may mean marrying the person you choose, or having an education, or not getting robbed on your way home. For Ephron, having it all is the magical time when what you want and what you have match up. “It’s when all your senses are engaged. It’s when you feel at peace with someone you love. And that isn’t often. Loving someone and being at peace with him (or her) are two different things. Having it all are moments in life when you suspend judgment. It’s when I attain that elusive thing called peace of mind.”
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