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INSPIRATIONAL

The Key To Having It All

PHOTO BY TERRANCE A. REESE

By: Carmen M. Colon

“...I'm a ‘millionaire’ and now I am working on my second!” - Carmen M. Colon

hat is having it all? To some, it's having a successful business, a lot of money coming in, a family to be proud of - everything out of a feel good movie. We are besieged by images days in and out trying to manipulate and define for the masses what it is and what it means to "have it all." Well, I'm standing up and declaring that I too "have it all" and it looks nothing like what's being told in the media. I work for my living and I feel blessed to simply have some place to work so that I can pay bills and raise my sons. It doesn't fulfill me the way the magazines say it should; but, I have my outside interests and my community groups for that. I have sons, and in having the responsibility of juggling four people’s lives, I also have stress, drama, joy, fear, huge amounts of laughter, anger and lots of love. It is not perfect, but my family appreciates that we are unique. I even have a medical condition that can exacerbate my life, but it's all mine. Yes, I own it. It can make for a very rocky road, but it is every bit a part of me as anything else. Many would ask, "What about the money and the great spouse that is believed to be critical when saying that they've had it all?" I've had money. I also have a lot of debt: college tuition, mortgages, car notes. My father used to say to us that he was a millionaire. He sat me and my siblings down and said, "this number is how much I make in one year. I've been working for 20 years at this profession. If you add it all together you can see that I've made a million dollars over my lifetime so far. They say the first million is always the hardest." It took me a while to fully understand what he was trying to convey, but once the lightbulb went off in my head, I was so excited! I was even more excited when I told my sons that very same story a few years ago! "See boys, I'm a ‘millionaire’ and now I am working on my second!" As for the fabulous spouse, I've been in two long-term relationships. I call them my successful marriages because I didn't kill them and I'm not in jail. Truthfully, each one went through the paces of what most relationships go through, and once I understood my own role and my own contributions to each one, I was finally able to lay to rest a lot of baggage that people tend to carry from one to the next. So, I enjoy more remembering why I fell in love, the happiest of times, and I leave the faults and frailties to those two younger people in the past. We were young, foolish, stubborn, and less knowledgeable, so why hang onto that anyway? It's a brand new world out there every single day, and every day if you wake up grateful for what you have instead of longing for what you don't, then you're never going to be satisfied and you'll never have it all. I'm single, I enjoy meeting new people, but I'm not the dating kind as I'm too busy living my "having it all" life. I've loved again, "You can't keep a good woman down," they say, but I realized that I needed to focus on being only responsible for me before I would once again jump into the deep end of that ocean. I am free to travel, to go left, go right, to start another business or take another job, to go to a movie one day or the theater, the next and I focus on my own dreams. If that's not having it all then I don't know what is. One day, if the stars are aligned and the time is right, who knows, maybe. Until then, I create my own happiness. So tell me honestly, can't we all declare that we "have it all" and isn't happiness and success really about knowing that what we have can be enough? Carmen M. Colon is a mother, an engineer, an education and childrens advocate, an author and a public speaker on the topics of leadership, woman’s empowerment, career advancement and parenting. She can be reached at ccolon.bklyn@gmail.com

62 JAN / FEB 2014

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