age 16: I want to be a millionaire by the age of 23, millionaire meaning having 1 million pesos in the bank, 1 million pesos of hard-earned cash.
age 18: I want to travel around the world by age 25, build a mansion for my parents by age 30, and own a yacht by age 32.
age 25: I want to be part of entrepreneur magazine's annual 30 under 30 list. I'm not going to settle down until I have millions in the bank, and even then, I will probably continue to expand my business empire. mwahaha.
age 30: I will never climb the corporate or kitchen ladder, am past the age for the 30 under 30 list, have settled down, haven't traveled the world, am nowhere near owning a yacht in 2 years, and don't have a full-time job, or a business empire.
I do have a loving and faithful husband, a son who adores me, a part-time job that keeps me sane, and all the time in the world to write and read blogs, surf the net, cook, write, read, travel, shop, sleep, think...
Settling down at the tender age of 25 wasn't the obstacle to my lifelong ambitions. If anything, I was inspired to succeed alongside my husband, who was struggling to get to the top, like most men, and women, his age. Yet the force-that-be thought otherwise. At the age of 26 I was a mom, and four months after giving birth I was a full-time mom. And, I thought at the time, there go my dreams.
Of course I bitched about it. Someone as ambitious as I used to be is expected to do so. I felt I had the right to complain about not being able to work, or earn, or feel fulfillment, or be recognized. Hubby graciously let my ranting sessions pass, although at times he would wisely comment on "having your cake and eating it too."
Years later, four years to be accurate, I am starting to realize, bit by bit, that you CAN'T have it all. You can't be a wonderful mom who knows your kids inside out, and be a dragon lady CEO who earns gazillions every bonus season at the same time. You CAN be a great mother and a great businesswoman or career woman, BUT you will not be stupendously successful at both. Something has to give. There will always be a price. Mainly because we don't have the power to be at two places at the same time. And our minds can only think so much, and our bodies can only do so much, and our emotions can only take so much. You either neglect the business, the family or yourself. I don't believe in superwomen. I believe in women who are able to manage their time, but acknowledge that along the way they missed out on some things. Some important things. And while I will never be a complete housewife, I'm at peace with the fact that I have a huge slice of the happiness pie in my home life and a smaller slice in terms of career fulfillment.
In some ways my dreams have changed, evolved, and now involve my husband and son. I suppose it will take an entirely different road to get there, one I could never have imagined a decade ago. When I hear my son laugh or hug me tight and whisper "I love you"; when my husband comes home to an organized, clean flat and a nice dinner; when we talk in the middle of the night about our shared goals for ourselves and our families; when we travel together; when we spend quality time together on weekends, I think of how I could have missed out on all these, if only I had insisted on pursuing my career. So I'm thankful for that bump in the road, the detour to where I am now, a far cry from my 16-year old materalistic, I-will-own-the-world self. Oh, I haven't forgotten the mansion, the yacht, the millions, the traveling, but I'm in no hurry. They will come. I'm currently savoring my life. And time spent away from the heat of the kitchen, restaurant or boardroom is time spent with my rapidly growing boy.