So, if you remember, I decided to become a doctor at 31 years old, despite having a successful career, a husband, and a daughter. Since making this decision, everything has changed. Every single thing. I am officially a “divorcee” now.

Continuing with my sleep over at Christina’s house, she appears more struck than me. Christina got married right after our graduation from LSE, so she has been a wife for the last ten years. She often felt at odds, as she was the only one who committed to a relationship so young, compared to the rest of us.

She holds her head and shakes it. Then she stops, looks up as if an idea had suddenly travelled down from heaven. She pauses. But as reality comes back to bite us all, she holds her head and shakes it. The pattern kicks in again.

“I don’t understand.” She finally declares, still shaking her head. “You had it all! You had a husband, who loves you like crazy.”

I don’t know about the “crazy” part. Cole is a very collected and well-mannered man. He wouldn’t do anything crazy for love. He is not that kind of guy. So, this is just pure extrapolation from Christina… just saying.

“You have a beautiful daughter.” She continues “You are VP at one of the world’s biggest record companies, earning a very decent salary.”

This statement is pretty much bang on!

“You even managed to buy a house in London for God’s sake!” She stated with an ongoing head shake.

“London yes, but zone 5.” I correct.

Drawing: London zone 1-2 maybe 3, these are the zones we think of when we think London. Zone 5 is really far.

She pauses and stares at me in disbelief for a minute, but the words she is about to form seem difficult to make sense of.

“… and you are saying no to having it all!”

There, she said it! I am turning my back on the path of a so-called successful life.

“How?” She finally questions. Her head finally stops shaking, while she tries to pierce through my soul in search for an acceptable answer.

“I was miserable.” First attempt at the truth. Let’s see how she reacts.

“So?” She articulates. In case I was in any doubt of her disapproval.

“Lewa, can you back me up on that?” she requests. Lewa has been quiet throughout the exchange, which is unusual. She suddenly raises her glass of water as if she is about to make a toast:

“To divorce!”  and she does make a toast, which frustrates Christina even more.

“Lewa, come on! Can you say something more constructive?” She finishes her drink and hits the table with her glass. Things are about to get real!

Olivia's New Life - Having it all

“Christina, you are just projecting your fears onto her. She is taking charge of her life. We should be celebrating her new life. Cole is a nice guy, but he has not changed one bit since he and Olivia first began dating. He has been working for the same small company for the last 10 years. The only things that excite him are football matches and reruns of Sherlock. Oh! And pork ribs.”

Well, this description is a harsh picture of Cole. True but harsh.

“Is it a crime not to change?” She defends, with a slight edge in her voice. I wonder if we are still talking about me.

“No, but it’s a crime to think nothing else ever changes…” She pours herself another glass of water, “…the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself.” She finishes her glass in one big sip. “Arrggh, water is nice!”

Christina doesn’t add a word.


Post edited by Markesia Barron (Twitter @MarkesiaBarron)

26 thoughts on “I Said No To “Having It All””

  1. Good for you for having the strength and courage to saying no to “having it all”. I was just talking to someone the other day about how tired I am of trying to live up to society’s standards of what is considered the “correct” thing to do at certain ages, and I believe this topic could fall under the subject. If you’re miserable, you shouldn’t have to live your life like that. You only get one, so we should make the most of it. And that’s what you’re doing. Best of luck as you start your new journey!

  2. It’s amazing how you may seem to have it all to someone one the outside, but you don’t feel like it. Everyone has different goals and a different definition of success.

  3. Happiness is relative. It’s funny how we all start on a path towards the “perfect” life. But once we start growing up and figurig out what we really want, everyone’s path to happiness becomes different and more defined. Sounds like you are on the path to your own happiness!!

  4. Wow, good for you for following your path. At 34, I’m questioning my decision to become a pharmacist and just want to do something different. This retail stuff is driving me nuts. But way to go after it! And good luck on your new journey. You’re a beautiful writer.

  5. Good thing Olivia is sticking to what felt right for you. Too many people think they have the right to tell their family members and friends how to live their lives. Instead they should be listening.

  6. I think the idea of “having it all” is definitely overrated! It doesn’t always mean you’re going to be happy! Good luck on your new venture!

  7. Wow!!! Your story is just wow. This is just a proof that we all can’t have it all. Nothing is perfect. Good luck on your journey to becoming a Doctor! You’re going to be successful!

  8. This sounds amazing and I love it – you gave me chills and I feel you, girl. My mom was a single mom for 7 years. Starting all over is rough. You can do it!

  9. You write so well. After reading the post I wanted more. I tell you its an art to hold your reader with your words.
    All the beat for new phase of life, may you see all the success.

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