North America is an extremely judgemental place to live. Who wore it better? Who has the best house? Who gained weight? Who looks younger? Who has the best job/partner/life? As a society we are consistently judging other people on how they live their lives. I am asking for your help, we have to make this stop.
Many of Hollywood’s top actresses have chosen not to have children and they fight a continuous battle of defending their choice. Oprah, Ellen, Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Kim Cattrall to name just a few. These are talented, driven women who have remained successful in an increasingly competitive and fickle industry. They have won awards, travelled the world, created empires, volunteered and donated millions of dollars yet continue to be asked if they feel incomplete for not having children. Why must they have children to be considered whole? It’s because it’s part of the recipe.
The recipe– the North American ideal for success:
-go to post secondary
-get a ‘good’ job
-buy a house
There you have it folks. Follow these simple steps and you too are guaranteed a life of happiness. While I do believe that this can be happiness for some, it is impossible to believe it is for EVERYONE. That is like saying there is only one recipe for dessert – vanilla cake. If you want dessert you must follow this recipe. That’s boring. People’s passions, dreams and interests are far to varied to be expected to fit into a one size fits all mold of happiness. Many are realizing this and are making their own adjustments to the recipe. The problem is when they deviate from the original they are judged by society.
A women in her mid thirties who did not go to post secondary, works as a server. She has been in the service industry for 15 years and is incredibly good at what she does. She has bought her own car, her own house and has an impressive financial portfolio. Despite all this people ask her when she is going to get a ‘real job.’ She loves her job, why is it not considered real?
Another women has her masters degree and a very successful career. She is exceedingly motivated and holds a position of someone at least ten years her senior. She owns her own house, her own luxury vehicle, and her own membership to a country club. She likes to travel for 2-20 weeks at a time. She is asked when she will ‘grow up’ and settle down and stop with the travelling. Why must she stop when it’s her greatest passion?
Another example, a twenty something, very successful young man works an incredibly challenging and thankless job with children and youth. He works hard and has forged ahead in his career with a rare combination of heart and determination. His job requires a level of giving that not many possess. He is scrutinized when he says he does not want to have children. He is called selfish and childish and told that he will change his mind someday. How is that fair?
A mother of two incredible girls, volunteers at her church, is extremely involved in her community and her children’s school as well as taking care of her house and large property. She is looked down upon when she answers stay at home home Mom to the question ‘what do you do?’ From six in the morning until ten at night she is working, investing everything she has into the future of her family. Sadly she is made to feel inferior to women with careers.
I am sure you have judged and have been judged. Neither one makes you feel good.
I am guilty of judgement. I used to question why anyone would get tied down to a 25 year mortgage, a life of debt for for some bricks and mortar? Why are they ruining their lives getting married so young? Why do you work so much? Why don’t you travel more? Judge. Judge. Judge. Judge. I finally realized that people do not want to live my life any more then I want to live theirs.
One way is not better than the other. That’s the thing about life, as long as you are happy living it, it’s the right choice. We have to respect and appreciate the diversity of life without judgement. Everyone has their own path to forge and while you do not have understand or even like another’s path you do not have the right to condemn it for not being like the one you choose.
We need to stop trying to compartmentalize life. No one should ever have to hear “Why don’t you….
get a ‘real’ job,
Happiness is subjective and is unique as our fingerprint. Embrace the diversity.
Will you join me on the revolution or are you going to eat vanilla cake forever?
“WHEN YOU JUDGE ANOTHER, YOU DO NOT DEFINE THEM, YOU DEFINE YOURSELF.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer