Mighty Life List
Aug 10 2012

What We Chase

Scenes of Life | Lucie & Simon

What My Son’s Disabilities Taught Me About ‘Having It All’, by Marie Myung-Ok Lee.

When I look at friends and acquaintances, many with perfectly beautiful children and wonderful lives, and see how desperately unhappy or stressed they are about balancing work and family, I think to myself that the solution to many problems is deceptively obvious. We are chasing the wrong things, asking ourselves the wrong questions. It is not, “Can we have it all?” — with “all” being some kind of undefined marker that shall forever be moved upwards out of reach just a little bit with each new blessing. We should ask instead, “Do we have enough?”

Image from Scenes of Life, by Lucie & Simon.

11 Responses to “What We Chase”

  • Angeerah Says:

    I saw this article on an autism link or forum or FB or some sort of internet thing recently. It is a good article to read over and over and over again. Especially when you feel like you are losing control or things are not going right or it’s just to hard to do it all.

    Our adorable sweet boy was recently diagnosed with autism. Although it was unexpected, it still felt like a punch in the stomach. All of a sudden, we went from signing him up for a neurotypical preschool to applying for every sort of service in the book. It became a humbling experience for too very busy professional parents like my husband and me. We suddenly entered into a world where we were novices, beginners.

    In the end, it is about, do we have enough? And right now enough is making sure our son is happy, respecting his differences, and insuring he gets the services we need. We don’t need fancy clothes, or new cars, or the right brands. We need to be happy with where we are.

    Oof. I’m so sorry. It must be hard to find peace in the face of so many expectations being upended. Fingers crossed for you and your family as you make this transition. -M

  • jen Says:

    Yes! Chasing the elusive “all” never gets you anywhere. It’s good to be reminded because it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race for so many things – health, money, career. New mantra: I have enough. I have enough.

  • Martha Says:

    Wow, that is such a good article. It’s good to step back and take a moment to get yourself in check.

  • ruth Says:

    so great. Born and raised a Lutheran North Dakotan, this is EXACTLY how we were prepared for the world—your strengths (and weaknesses) don’t make you any more special that anyone else, because we all have both. Be happy with what you have.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • jenny Says:

    And I find that each time I ask myself this question, the answer is a resounding “Yes.”

  • Sarah Says:

    This article is wonderful, isn’t it? I had always been a really competitive person, but that changed when my daughter was stillborn last year. I’m not sure whom I thought I was competing with, but clearly I lost.

    Now I’m more grateful for what I have. And I’ve noticed that people who have dealt with some major hardship in their lives are often happier than those who haven’t. I guess we might call that wisdom.

    I’m so sorry about your child.

    I agree with you. People who have faced a Big Bad sometimes do seem better able to cope with or find humor in small hardships. -M

  • Kris Says:

    Angeerah, your son will be okay. There is a whole world out here, waiting to embrace him with love.

  • Karen Says:

    Thanks for sharing this article – a reminder that gratitude is a gift we give ourselves!

  • Kara Says:

    I have never liked the “having it all” thing for women because first it makes certain assumptions about what “all” is (fancy house, lots of gadgets, high-powered career, marriage, 2.5 kids…) and second that everyone wants the same “all”.

    I personally have never felt the need to join that particular race because I have never wanted it “all”.

    I prefer to have “enough”.

    Competition in chasing that elusive “all” never made anyone happy that I could ever see…

  • Emily Says:

    I understand the concept. Chasing “all” and never being satisfied with what you have is unhealthy and would make any life miserable. However, settling for “enough” doesn’t strike me as something that would make me happy either. I prefer to hope for a balance between the two extremes: Being grateful and realizing that life is good, while still striving for more. To me, that would be ideal and is what I try to remember anytime something great (or bad) happens. A little reminder that what you have is amazing and you are lucky, but the realization that there is always room for improvement. Balance is key.

  • LovelyMonsters Says:

    I have a habit of shying from questions I won’t like the answers to. When my mind veered away from this one, I knew it was time to dig.

    The answer is, resoundingly, no. In both directions, strangely: I have too many possessions (an American, I am whittling everything down to two suitcases in order to move to England) and too little permission to take the time and effort to create art. Too much obsession over my acne, too few pairs of pants.

    How interesting. I get the impression that the expectation of the quote’s author is that the answer will be yes, but this is helpful for a different reason: lately I have been asking myself what I want, and the answers have been hard to narrow down. It’s a bit easier to cope with asking “What do I want more of? What do I want less of?”

    Which is, I imagine, not what the author intended. But too bad.