Can You Have It All?

Written by Karen Bryan

can you have it allI’m not convinced that you can have it all (simultaneously); a great job, a wonderful relationship, happy family life, personal fulfilment, good health and enough money to pay for all your desires. There’s nothing wrong with trying hard for what you want in life, but if you’re unrealistically ambitious I reckon you could be in for a frustrating time.

It’s tricky because if you set your goals too low you’ll underachieve; but set your goads too high and you could forever feel like a failure. However I believe that you should plan for tomorrow, or you stand virtually no chance of achieving at least some of your life goals.

I’ll give you a couple of examples from my own life. I’m glad that I worked part time when our twin sons were young as I had such fun with them. But that meant that I wasn’t building up a good workplace pension.  Now I’m aged 52 and I’ll need to work until at least the official age for retiring, currently 66 for me in the UK.  I don’t think I could have combined a demanding, full time job with spending relaxed times with our sons. By contrast, my husband worked full time and paid the maximum into a final salary pension scheme (with his employer also contributing) and was able to retire aged 51.

I was keen to give up my day job as a freelance market research interviewer to work full time on my travel blog, Europe a la Carte. I knew that I had to be pretty certain that I could replace my earnings from the day job from being an online publisher. So although I started Europe a la Carte in 2002, I only gradually reduced the number of hours I worked in my day job until Europe a la Carte was well established and starting to generate more income. In May 2009 the timing seemed right to give up the day job, as our twin sons were about to graduate from university and one had found a job plus income from Europe a la Carte was well up on the previous year. I work long hours as a self employed online publisher but I’m much happier to work these hours now than when our sons were young.

So, I’ve been fortunate to experience a happy family life with kids and I’m currently running my own online business doing something I enjoy (most of the time). On the other hand, I just have to get my toothache sorted, crack earning more while working fewer hours and plan my retirement next.