I’m reading a book right now called Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection by Deborah Spar. I’m maybe a third of the way through, and in it, Spar is mapping out the impact of the feminist movement and the sexual revolution on women today. When women were told (and it was legislated) that they could do and be anything, there was soon this external and internal expectation that they could have it all. And the question that I think Spar is posing is (a) can we really have it all? (b) should we be trying so hard to?
It makes me think about myself, and any of you readers – no matter your sex or gender identity – who are balancing a number of different things in your life. Trying to stay healthy – eating the right things and getting exercise in. Trying to care for/be with your family. Trying to do life things – explore, travel, play, see new things, try new hobbies, read, etc. Trying to maintain friendships. The list goes on.
Never mind work! Trying to do right by the donors. Trying to meet your year-end goals. Trying to manage interpersonal relationships, navigate office politics, be a good colleague…
We have a lot on our plates, personally and professionally, at this time of year especially. There’s a lot to juggle and more often than not we’re left feeling that we’ve dropped all the balls.
But while reading this book on the plane last night as I flew into Toronto from a client meeting in Ottawa, I said to myself: Take a break.
Our office closes between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, so I’ll get to take an actual break from work, which is key. But also take a break from the pressure you put on yourself, and from the crazy high expectations you set for yourself.
Take a break from feeling guilty or thinking you’ve failed if you don’t “have it all”.
Whatever your cause, by fundraising for it, you do a bit of good every day of the year.
And if you’re lucky enough to have a family to spend the holidays with, maybe celebrating the season with a big meal at some point in a warm house, with people you love… if that’s not having it all, what is?!
So I’m going to take my own advice and this will be my last post of 2016. I need to disconnect from blogging and tweeting for a little bit, to recharge and relax. To take a break.
And with that, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season!
Written by Maeve Strathy
Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in fundraising for ten years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.