Dream About ‘Having It All’? Here’s What That Really Looks Like

It’s a bone of contention about whether or not women can “have it all,” but no one ever talks about what having it all really means. Certainly it’s not about accumulating the most possessions or nurturing six-figure bank account or being famous. Having it all can’t be boiled down to things or people so then what does it mean? Here’s what I think “having it all” means and what I’m striving for in my own life.

  1. Loving who you are As women, we hear this so much that it’s easy to tune out, but it’s so important to having it all. If you love yourself, then you trust yourself. You know who you are, where you’re going, and why you’re going there. You know that you’re a fun and awesome person who deserves love and respect from others. You don’t take guff from anyone, you don’t keep toxic people in your life, and you are confident in what you can do and proud of who’s in your life. If you want to have it all, you gotta have all the love.
  2. Being financially responsible I don’t mean you need a fully funded retirement fund by the time you’re 27 or that you must have more than $6 in your bank account. What I mean is living within your means and making smart choices. Oh, and having a savings account. Some of the happiest people in the world don’t have a lot of money, but they’re happy with what they do have and what they choose to do with it. Sometimes that means giving up a shopping spree because your car insurance is due soon and sometimes it means treating yourself to your fave sushi place instead of eating what’s in your fridge. Be smart about it.
  3. Being content Content is a funny word because so many people misconstrue it. Contentment doesn’t mean giving up on dreaming big and living a ho-hum life. Contentment means looking around at your home, your work, your friends, and being grateful for all of it. It means that you like and appreciate everything that you have and everything that you are and that you don’t need anything else to complete you. You are satisfied with what you’ve created and where you’re going.
  4. Having big dreams Just because you’re content doesn’t mean you’re not going for something bigger in your life. Having big goals and big dreams gives you something to look forward to, something to aim for. It keeps your life from being stagnant. To have it all means to keep growing as a person, keep challenging yourself, keep trying new things. There are fewer feelings that are greater than going after something big and scary and achieving it.
  5. Having true friends Maybe you lucked out and have had awesome friends from the get go, but many of us had to go through our share of toxic people, friends who used us, who didn’t listen, who didn’t value us as people. Finding your ride or die posse, those people that lift you up, that support you, that laugh at your jokes, and tell you when you’re not trying your hardest, those friends are magical. Once you have those types of people in your life, don’t let them go.
  6. Being okay being alone You don’t need someone to complete you. You are a catch. You’re hilarious and smart and bright and interesting. The ability to have fun by yourself is an essential part of having it all because it means you don’t need other people to make you happy. You know who you are and what you’re about and you enjoy spending time with yourself. Don’t misunderstand me: we all need other people in our lives and relationships are important, but we also need to be okay being alone.
  7. Doing what makes you happy The second part of this is “despite what other people may think.” First off, I think others think about us way less than we think they do. Second, doing what makes you happy regardless of others’ opinions is a huge deal. It means that you know what you’re about and you’re not going to change. If your friends think it’s weird that you like archery, who cares? Your hobbies and interests aren’t for others, they’re for you. You do you.
  8. Giving back So many of us have so much, and there are so many out there who lack. Giving back of our time, our resources, our money, our vocation, etc. allows us to help another person grow, to become who they aspire to be, to love themselves. It’s a selfless act that brings joy to everyone involved. It’s an amazing feeling to know that what you’re doing is helping someone else. Living for another is a sign of maturity and having it all.
  9. Having excellent boundaries It’s 4 p.m. on a Saturday and you just want to stay inside tonight, watch a movie, order pizza. Your friends text you, telling you that you have to go out with them to a new restaurant. Do you give in to the peer pressure? Heck no. You know what’s right for you and your soul and stick to your plan. You are firm with your nos, you know your limits, and you don’t apologize for it. You don’t feel the need to make excuses. If you’re not feeling it, you’re okay with that.
  10. Believing in yourself Being content is great, having big dreams is also good, but do you believe that you can have it all? Do you believe that you’re capable and scrappy enough? Do you believe that anything you can imagine doing is something you can actually do? Self-confidence is where it’s at if you want to have it all. You can have all the things to fill up your giant home and ave a giant bank account and a million people in your circle of friends, but if you don’t believe that you can do anything, it doesn’t matter. Believe that anything is possible. Including having it all.
Toni Hammer is an author, freelance writer, and comedian. She's married to Luke, her college sweetheart, and is the tired mom of Lily and Levi. They all live in Portland, Oregon where they sometimes see the sun.