adele got it wrong, but i still like her song


I’ve had a phrase knocking around my head for the past few days, the past few weeks, really. Somewhere between scraping eggs benedict off of yet another plate or forcing myself up the treadmill one more time, the idea smashed into my brain with the force of a freight train. Try as I might to ask myself where it came from, and what led up to it, it remained so definite and so inarguable that I couldn’t excuse it.

“They lied when they said we could have it all”.

From there, rather than falling into the temptation of using alienating terms and pushing off the responsibility on society like I’m prone to do as a millennial, I admitted my part in the perpetuating the fantasy:

“We lied when we said we could have it all”.

I’m not sure at what point I bought into it, this “you can have it all” lifestyle, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. I know I’m not because I watch people, almost as much as I watch myself.

I know we’ve embraced it because we smile and tell everyone we’re happy and in love, and it’s been however many months, and we still feel justified in harmless texts from that coworker or “best guy friend” and meaningful smiles exchanged with the barista who’s definitely more interested in you than how much whip you want on your chai latte.

I know we’ve embraced it because we reason that picking up a second job or taking on more hours. We may be tired—exhausted—we may still be in school, it may mean less time with our kids, but we “need the money”. We can do this. One job is good, two jobs are better… we’re young. One more sip of coffee, one more sigh as we roll out the door.

I know we’ve embraced it because women are shamed for having a career, over a family and judged for focusing on their families because that somehow makes them “repressed” and a victim of gender inequality. In fact, the best arrangement would be doing it all—after all, you owe it to yourself, girls.

That’s not even touching the amount of debt we put ourselves into to have and to get, but I think we’ve all recognized that amassing more material possessions isn’t where it’s at. There are things we can amass, collect and compromise and break ourselves in two for: accomplishments, commitments, prestige, and position.

The entitlement syndrome is more than our selfies and iPhones. It goes deeper than that.
 What if I told you that we don’t “deserve it all”?
That just because something is attainable, doesn’t make it beneficial? (I get no points for originality on this one, by the way)

What are we willing to sacrifice?
What are we willing to prioritize?
What areas of our lives are we comfortable seeing suffer as we try to do and be and have everything?

I’ve never really asked myself these questions, but the answers don’t come to me as easy as I’d like.


One thought on “adele got it wrong, but i still like her song

  1. “I get no points for originality”
    And I get none for this: “What has been will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
    In other words: “Everything is a remix.” The thought may not be original, but it is wise and worthwhile. Why not spread it?

    “What are [you] willing to sacrifice?”
    Career opportunities, (truly) free time, sidelined interests and things with which I tend to waste time that do not benefit me or others.

    “What are [you] willing to prioritize?”
    My relationship with God is paramount, followed by my relationship with my wife and then my ministry. Nothing begins to compare to these three priorities.

    “What areas of our lives are [you] comfortable seeing suffer as [you] try to do and be and have everything?”
    I’m naturally inclined to be curious and take interest in multiple, divergent topics. There is a reason, “master of none,” was eventually appended to the term, “Jack of all trades,” though. I’m not comfortable seeing any area suffer: I want everything I do to be done with excellence. However, that means that I may not be able to do certain things as often, in order to keep them up to that standard.

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